White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon underwent arthroscopic surgery on Wednesday, the team announced this afternoon. Rodon’s surgery repaired a “significant” case of bursitis in his left shoulder, per Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago (Twitter links). A recovery time for his specific case wasn’t provided, Hayes notes, but the Sox suggested that the general recovery timeline for this procedure is anywhere from six to eight months.
The short end of that timeline would allow Rodon to be ready for the bulk of Spring Training. However, that time frame also seems to suggest that Rodon could miss the early portion of the 2018 campaign — possibly more than the first month of the season. Certainly, there will be more updates on his condition as his rehab progresses over the life of the offseason.
Set to turn 25 in December, Rodon is a key piece for the rebuilding White Sox as the team looks toward its future. Chicago selected the NC State lefty with the third overall pick in the 2014 draft, and he impressed with a 3.75 ERA over 139 1/3 innings as soon as the 2015 campaign — debuting less than one year after being drafted. Rodon followed that up with a slightly worse ERA in 2016 (4.04) but significant improvements to his control and to his durability, as he logged a career-high 165 innings in that solid 2016 effort.
The 2017 season was a struggle for Rodon, though, as he missed the first two months of the season with bursitis in his left biceps and was shut down for the year in early September. Overall, Rodon managed just 69 1/3 innings this season, though he did post a career-best 9.9 K/9 mark and a career-high 10.3 percent swinging-strike rate in that limited sample. Notably, Hayes adds in his tweets above that Rodon’s left biceps and the labrum in his left shoulder both looked “fine” when examined by renowned surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
[Related: Chicago White Sox depth chart]
The ChiSox already seemed a decent bet to explore the possibility of adding some veteran arms this offseason, given the inexperience of their rotation outside of struggling veteran James Shields. Uncertainty regarding Rodon’s timeline to start the 2018 season only figures to enhance that likelihood. The Sox have a pair of impressive young righties in their big league rotation at present in the form of Raynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito, but they’ll surely want to be careful with each in his first full big league season.
Beyond that, right-hander Michael Kopech (acquired in last December’s Chris Sale blockbuster) is perhaps the game’s top pitching prospect, but he’s thrown just 15 inning at the Triple-A level and could likely use some further development time. Other prospects, including righties Spencer Adams, Alec Hansen and Tyler Danish could all likely stand to gain some additional minor league seasoning as well; Danish had a dreadful season in Triple-A Charlotte this season, while neither Danish nor Hansen has thrown a single pitch at that level.