In news that didn’t come as a surprise, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said left-hander Carlos Rodon will undergo Tommy John surgery Wednesday. Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache will perform the surgery in Los Angeles.
So what else is new?
When it comes to injury news and the Sox, we’ve come to expect the worst. For good (or is it bad?) measure, Hahn heaped on the news that right-hander Nate Jones underwent flexor mass surgery in his right forearm Monday and is out for the season. The procedure was performed by James Andrews.
The Sox’ stable of prospects —already racked by Tommy John surgeries for top pitchers Michael Kopech, Dane Dunning and Zack Burdi — did not go unscathed. Top outfield prospect Micker Adolfo will have arthroscopic surgery on his right (throwing) elbow and miss the rest of the season, Hahn said. Adolfo, who had Tommy John surgery on the elbow last year and went into recovery as a designated hitter for a while, is expected to be ready for the start of the 2020 season.
Rodon landed on the injured list with elbow inflammation on May 2 and spoke that day about the possibility of having Tommy John surgery, the procedure to repair the ulnar collateral ligament. After a series of evaluations, the announcement was made.
Rodon will be out until at least June of next year.
“I think he is at peace with it in terms of the road ahead of him,” Hahn said. “He knows it’s not going to be an easy rehab, but at the same time, it’s one that has a very, very high likelihood of success and one that should put him in a position to continue on and have a very, very promising career once he returns.”
Rodon, 26, was the Sox’ Opening Day starter and had a 5.19 ERA in seven starts. He was limited to 20 starts last season after recovering from arthroscopic shoulder surgery and — coming back with a clean slate out of spring training — was projected as a key piece in the rebuild.
Instead, he’s just another broken piece.
“There’s a portion of it that’s bad luck,” Hahn said of the rash of surgeries. “It’s not just us, obviously. You look around the league, and unfortunately it’s fairly rampant.”
With about a third of all pitchers having had Tommy John surgery, everyone is looking for answers and solutions.
“There’s going to come a time, I probably won’t be sitting in this chair when the time comes, that people are going to have a much, much better understanding of how to keep pitchers healthy, and that’s going to be great for the game,” Hahn said. “Until then, we’re going to do everything in our power to do what we know works. If along the way, we’re struck with bad luck or similarly victimized by what may be a bit of an epidemic in the game, we’re going to hopefully have enough depth and wherewithal to push through it.”
Jones had a 3.48 ERA in 13 relief appearances this season. His career has been marred by repeated trips to the injured list and four surgeries, and this one could be the last straw for Jones, 33.
Adolfo, the Sox’ No. 8-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, will have a debridement “or a removal of scar tissue as well as potentially some work done on the nerve, a nerve transposition in the forearm,” Hahn said.
The one shred of positive news also was expected. Eloy Jimenez, who’s recovering from a high ankle sprain, will start a minor-league rehab assignment Tuesday at Class AAA Charlotte and should be back up in about a week.