As a team that has been notorious for keeping players healthy, the White Sox haven’t had a ton of luck with injuries this season. A plethora of players, both in the majors and minors, have suffered setbacks in their development.
General Manager Rick Hahn spoke to the media Thursday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field to address a few of the lingering questions about these players’ progress, and made some pertinent announcements. Let’s dig in.
Announced in late 2017, Carlos Rodon underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder and would spend 6-8 months on the disabled list. As we are slowly approaching the eight month mark, Hahn addressed the status of the 25-year-old lefty, who is slated to make his first rehab start in Class-A Kannapolis.
“Rodon will start on Saturday at Kannapolis as he makes his first official rehab start with an affiliate,” Hahn said. “Obviously, he’s been throwing in extended spring training, made a number of starts there, each of which have gone well. And he is currently without restriction other than building up his endurance and pitch count. This Saturday night at Kannapolis will be the first of multiple rehab starts … We’re probably going to be in the neighborhood of June 1 when this is all said and done.”
Rodon is familiar with enduring the rigors of rehabbing, this isn’t his first time doing so. “It’s been easier on Carlos, one, because he’s been through it before,” Hahn said. “But two, because he feels so much better. As I’ve referenced before, there’s a certain point when you’re dealing with an injured player where they seemingly get over the hump psychologically and realize that they’re no longer hurt, they’re just building up baseball endurance again.”
To say that Rodon has had a tumultuous start to his Major League career, one in which he is now in his third year of, would be an understatement. Rodon arrived to the major league scene when he was just 22-years old, and has had to endure situations that have helped build his mental toughness and sense of maturity. “I think he showed much more growth in terms of maturity, as you say it,” Manager Rick Renteria said of Rodon. “You can see it when you talk to him. I think he’s taking it one day at a time, I think he’s understanding you have to take patient, progressive steps as he’s moving forward. He feels good like I said.”
Rodon will start against the Texas Rangers affiliate Crawdads, and will be limited to approximately five innings of work. A specific pitch count for Rodon has not been announced.
Signed by the White Sox in May 2017 and notoriously awarded with a hefty $26 million signing bonus, Luis Robert was a large cornerstone of the organization’s rebuilding efforts. Robert impressed in the Dominican Winter League, hitting .310/.491/.536 in 84 at bats, but then suffered a setback when he sprained his left-thumb ligament in Spring Training this season. Robert was projected to be on the shelf for 10 weeks — a mark that is quickly approaching. On Thursday, Hahn gave a bit of insight as to when the White Sox expect him to make his season debut.
“Luis is ramping up baseball activity in extended [spring training],” Hahn said. “We expect him to participate in extended spring training games by the end of the month and soon thereafter join an affiliate. Once he’s officially ready to go, he’ll be at Winston-Salem — it depends how many extended games he gets in before the end of extended in deterring where he goes first once he leaves Phoenix. But he’s progressing. He’s hitting in cages, he’s doing defensive drills.”
Hahn said he expects Robert to join the Winston-Salem team in early June.
Avisail Garcia and Miguel Gonzalez
Avisail Garcia, who suffered a grade-two hamstring strain running to first base on April 24, has been slowly progressing in rehab.
“I think we were optimistic that when we started ramping up drills he was going to be completely symptom free,” Hahn said. “Given that it was a Grade 2 strain after the MRI, we knew we were going to have to be careful with this, and again we’re trying to err on the side of caution. When he initially left the game, I don’t think we knew that it was a Grade 2, so we thought perhaps it would come a little more quickly. But the MRI made it clear, and with the player’s reporting, we need to take our time with this one.”
No timetable has been established for Garcia’s return.
Renteria announced on Friday at Wrigley Field that starter Miguel Gonzalez, who was placed on the disabled list on April 23 with rotator cuff inflammation, had suffered a minor setback in his progress. Though Renteria would not disclose what sort of setback it was, Hahn told the media on Thursday that Gonzalez had received a PRP injection earlier this week. “Miggy had a little bit of a setback,” Hahn said. “He received a PRP injection earlier in the week. As a result, he’s no-throwing right now for 10 to 14 days and then we’ll reassess.”