The White Sox announced today that southpaw Carlos Rodon has been placed on the 10-day injured list. He’ll be replaced by righty Lucas Giolito, who was activated to take the ball this evening. Dylan Covey will ultimately move into the rotation to take Rodon’s place for whatever duration he’s sidelined.
Rodon is dealing with an “edema in the flexor mass,” James Fegan of The Athletic was among those to report (via Twitter). That initial diagnosis doesn’t provide a clear picture of Rodon’s outlook, but it seems as if there’s some reason for worry here. “Everything is on the table,” GM Rick Hahn told reporters including Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link) when asked about the possibility of Tommy John surgery.
Rodon had been off to an interesting, albeit uneven opening to the season. He’s averaging 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings, nearly twice the rate he managed last year. Rodon is carrying a personal-best 12.1% swinging-strike rate despite losing a full mile per hour on his average fastball. Going to his four-seamer instead of his sinker may be helping generate whiffs, though Rodon has seen year-over-year rises in hard contact and batting average on balls in play.
Despite solid marks from ERA estimators (3.52 FIP, 3.89 xFIP, and 3.92 SIERA), the 26-year-old southpaw carries a 5.19 ERA through 34 2/3 innings this year. Unfortunately, it sounds as if he may need some time off before he can work on bringing his earned run average down.
Over five seasons in the majors, Rodon has contributed 529 innings of 4.08 ERA pitching. That’s not quite the level of consistent, high-end output that was hoped for when he was taken with the third overall pick of the 2014 draft. There’s still time for him to get past the health problems and chase his ceiling, but the end of his initial team control is now in sight. Rodon is earning $4.2MM this year in his second of four seasons of arbitration eligibility.
This represents the latest hit to a White Sox rotation that has been in disarray early on. Rodon and Giolito have led the staff with their 5+ earned per nine; the other three hurlers with three or more starts have earned run averages of six or more. The team already ditched Ervin Santana. While the first two outings for Manny Banuelos have gone well, it’s a limited sample and rather a thin silver lining.
Covey will get another shot at proving himself in the majors after failing to do so in 191 2/3 innings over the past two seasons. He may ultimately be joined by top pitching prospect Dylan Cease, who’s off to a nice opening at Triple-A, but a promotion still doesn’t seem to be imminent. Hahn suggested to reporters that he may end up looking for outside arms to help fill things out.