Carlos Rodon slated for MRI, could start season on disabled list with bicep tightness

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USA TODAY

Carlos Rodon slated for MRI, could start season on disabled list with bicep tightness

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Carlos Rodon has been scratched from Friday’s start with tightness in his upper left bicep and it could land him on the disabled list to start the 2017 season.

Though the development came as a surprise, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said that the team’s initial exam of their third-year starter was “positive” because they don’t believe he has any structural damage. An MRI taken Friday confirmed the White Sox original diagnosis. But the club intends to be extremely cautious with Rodon, who is expected to receive a second opinion early next week.

Rodon had been scheduled to face the Oakland A’s at Mesa, Ariz.

“We’re going to err on the side of caution here, even if it winds up costing him his first couple starts because we’re slowing down the schedule now by scratching him,” Hahn said.

“It’s too early to speculate how long we’re going to be without Carlos. I hate to speculate, but since we are slowing down his schedule by having him miss the start today, the odds are probably that he starts the season on the DL. But again we’ll know more after he takes his further exams.”

Both Hahn and White Sox manager Rick Renteria admit they’ve been caught off-guard by the sequence of events. Rodon informed the White Sox he felt some tightness in his bicep on Thursday, which led to an internal examination. But it was only Wednesday when Rodon said he felt great following a Tuesday bullpen session and asked about the possibility of his first regular season start being moved up. Rodon, who had been online to make his first start on April 8, had also responded well in the aftermath of striking out five batters over four scoreless innings in his Cactus League debut at Tempe, Ariz. on Sunday.

“As far as we know right now he’s OK,” Renteria said. “From the physical, clinical tests it seems like he’s fine, but obviously he’s going to get checked up. He still wanted to pitch. I think that even talking to him yesterday or two days ago, he was feeling great. For all of us it’s a little bit of a surprise.”

Rodon requested to make his start against Oakland after the initial exam, but the team declined and opted for an MRI.

With the intent of helping him avoid the fatigue he experienced last summer and also reaching the 200-inning mark this season, the White Sox took a slow approach with Rodon this spring. Similar to how they handled Chris Sale last spring, much of Rodon’s work this February and March on back fields and in simulated games.

Rodon -- who went 9-10 with a 4.04 ERA in 28 starts last season, striking out 168 batters in 165 innings -- finally debuted in the Cactus League on Sunday and flourished. Though his slow start drew some suspicion along the way as to whether or not Rodon was healthy, Hahn said his bicep issue is a total coincidence.

“I don't know if ironic is the right word, but we obviously tried to come up with a plan to keep him healthy for the long term and toward the end of this plan he expressed this discomfort yesterday,” Hahn said. “Again, he was feeling great, he was saying, with how he was coming along, with the program we had set up. Sometimes you make plans and the baseball gods laugh.”

While it’s too early to know how the length of Rodon’s absence, the White Sox have begun to develop contingency plans. The team has a few days off in April that could help them navigate through the issue, primarily on April 4 and April 10. Rodon originally was scheduled to pitch in the team’s fifth game, an April 8 home contest against Minnesota.

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Hahn suggested that despite the uncertainty he knows one tactic he won’t use is call upon one of the team’s top prospects. Reynaldo Lopez is close to major league ready and Lucas Giolito and Carson Fulmer have also already each accrued service time. But Hahn wants to avoid a taxi situation with frequent trips back and forth to the minor leagues.

He listed Saturday’s starter Dylan Covey and minor leaguers David Holmberg and Tyler Danish as among the possible replacements for Rodon.

“Our intention is to not have any player in Chicago simply because there’s a need in Chicago,” Hahn said. “It’s because they’ve answered all the questions that they have to answer developmentally at the minor league level and are ready for further development in Chicago. This is particularly true in the situation where it could just be a spot start or a few starts. None of us are inclined to potentially derail anyone’s development by moving them up and down, up and down. Our young pitchers, when the time comes for them to come to Chicago, will be guaranteed to get the ball every fifth day. We don’t have a specific plan for where it goes with Carlos, we need further examination and studies. And we don’t have a plan for how we’ll fill the void if one is created.”

 

How Jerry Krause impacted the 2005 White Sox World Series title

How Jerry Krause impacted the 2005 White Sox World Series title

GLENDALE, Ariz. — He might not have been the architect, as was the case for all six Bulls titles, but Jerry Krause's fingerprints are all over the 2005 White Sox championship.

A longtime basketball and baseball scout who later took over as the Bulls' general manager during Michael Jordan's heyday, Krause twice worked for the White Sox, most recently from 2010 to 2011. In his first stint, Krause — who passed away at age 77 on Tuesday — played a big role in the acquisitions of Ozzie Guillen, Julio Cruz, Ed Farmer, Greg Luzinski, Tom Seaver, Greg Walker and Ken Williams, among others.

"He had a hand in seven championships being that he scouted both Ozzie and myself and counseled us in the early years of some of the things we had to go through in our general manager-player relationships," said Williams, the White Sox executive vice president who was the team's general manager when it won the World Series in 2005. "He's probably telling his friends up there right now he actually has seven."

Though he started as a basketball scout, Krause switched to baseball during the 1970s and 1980s and worked for the Cleveland Indians, Oakland A's, Seattle Mariners and White Sox.

After his retirement from the Bulls, Krause worked for the New York Yankees, New York Mets and Arizona Diamondbacks. He took over as the White Sox international scouting director in 2010 and worked through 2011 until current director Marco Paddy was hired.

"I have two different Jerry Krause experiences," current White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "I had grown up in Chicago as a kid, seeing the Bulls teams he built and feeling a sense of gratitude toward him before I even met the man once given what that team was able to accomplish. From a personal level, when he was here and involved in our scouting operations, I found him to be an excellent evaluator and a very thoughtful individual who knew a tremendous amount about the game and was generous with his time and was certainly an asset while he was here."

Williams first met Krause when he was a 17-year-old prospect at Mount Pleasant High School in San Jose, Calif. The two developed a "lifetime" friendship, Williams said. The White Sox selected Williams — who eventually became the architect of the 2005 title-winning team — in the third round of the 1982 draft. They also acquired Guillen in an eight-player trade from the San Diego Padres in December 1984.

"I wish people had got to know his softer side because he's a good family man," Williams said. "A good fisherman. He could tell a story, man. He could recite stories from 20, 30 years ago. I wish the public had gotten a chance to know him along those lines — maybe he would have gotten a break he probably deserved."

Plaudits continue to pour in for revamped White Sox farm system

Plaudits continue to pour in for revamped White Sox farm system

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Six months of sterling additions has catapulted the White Sox farm system to near the top of the rankings.

Previously graded in the lower third of all franchises, the White Sox have been ranked between third and sixth in three separate farm system rankings recently released. Bolstered by 12 new prospects, the White Sox were named the third-best farm in baseball by MLBPipeline.com on Friday. The team has six prospects ranked among MLB's top 100.

"We don't spend a ton of time focused on prospect ratings," general manager Rick Hahn said. "At the same time, it's nice that outside analysts who are perhaps more objective than we are seeing the same things our scouts initially saw and our player development people are seeing ever since we got down here."

It has been a long time since the White Sox have possessed a highly-regarded farm system.

But they followed up what is considered to be a strong showing in the amateur draft by acquiring seven highly-touted prospects in the trades for Chris Sale and Adam Eaton.

The series of additions has resulted in plenty of acclaim for the White Sox, who also have been ranked fifth overall by Baseball America and sixth by Baseball Prospectus.

There's no telling how high the White Sox can go. Of MLB.com's top 15 White Sox prospects, 11 have been added since last June with many more likely on the way. With Jose Quintana, David Robertson, Todd Frazier, Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera and more still on the roster, the White Sox could give themselves an absurd amount of depth in the near future.

"We've made it clear we're still early in this process, so having a well-regarded farm system is nice," Hahn said. "We hope that's something we're going to be able to continue here over the coming months and years as we continue this process. Ultimately we know having a good farm system is great, but what we need is wins at the big-league level. And hopefully that's the next step in this process after we build up that system."