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White Sox push back All-Star left-hander Carlos Rodon’s next start

“When he doesn’t feel right, it’s impossible to push it,” manager Tony La Russa said.

White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon throws against the Minnesota Twins on July 6, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
AP Photos

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Left-hander Carlos Rodon will miss his regular turn in the White Sox’ starting rotation in their series this week at the Athletics because of ongoing shoulder soreness and fatigue. The Sox hope Rodon will be able to pitch next weekend.

Rodon pitched five innings in each of his two most recent starts after being on the injured list Aug. 8-26 with shoulder fatigue.

‘‘It’s not a decision that you like making,’’ manager Tony La Russa said. ‘‘We like him pitching, but he’s still not experiencing the good feeling, whether it’s fatigue and a little sore. But right now we’re hoping he can pitch against the Red Sox [next] weekend. But there are no guarantees.’’

Rodon, 28, who made the American League All-Star team for the first time and enjoyed the best first half of his career, was limited to 67 and 77 pitches in his starts against the Cubs and Pirates after coming off the IL. He allowed one run and five hits, struck out five and walked one in a victory Wednesday against the Pirates at Guaranteed Rate Field, lowering his ERA to 2.41.

‘‘Slightly building back, getting ready for the next start, that’s it,’’ Rodon said after his outing came to a halt after five innings. ‘‘It’s September. Just go out there and pitch.’’

‘‘Tired, sore,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘You know, there is a combination there, not just fatigue. He’s got some soreness to him.’’

With trainer James Kruk watching, Rodon played catch in the outfield before the Sox played the Royals on Sunday. But his shoulder is the latest worrisome development for a rotation that is the backbone of a team that enjoys a 9 1/2-game lead in the AL Central. Right-hander Lucas Giolito is on the IL with a strained hamstring, and All-Star right-hander Lance Lynn is on the IL with knee soreness. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel is healthy, but he is 2-5 with a 7.26 ERA in his last 11 starts.

After getting 12 days off around the All-Star break and not pitching in the All-Star Game, Rodon had rests of five, four and eight days coming out of the break before going on the IL. He had five days between his last two starts.

‘‘We’ve really been careful with him,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘When he doesn’t feel right, it’s impossible to push it. You don’t even dare, even think of that. We do miss him in the rotation, and hopefully he can pitch against the Red Sox next weekend.

‘‘The smart thing is to be concerned. You don’t want to think it’s a rainbow all the time and get splashed. I didn’t really think it was that bad.’’

Rodon had surgery on his left shoulder in September 2017 and Tommy John surgery on his left elbow in May 2019. The average velocity on his four-seam fastball in his last start — 93.3 mph — was about two mph lower than what he averaged for most of the season.

‘‘There’s been a number of times in games where we’ve taken him out and he says, ‘I’ve got more,’ and I said, ‘No, that’s enough,’ ’’ La Russa said. ‘‘That’s what’s concerning. All this should add up to where right now he would be in peak form. You have to face the reality. . . . But we are optimistic. If we just get smart and back off, he’ll pitch for us.’’

After a day off Monday, the Sox play the A’s on Tuesday (starter TBA), Wednesday (Keuchel) and Thursday (Reynaldo Lopez).

When Rodon pitches next and how effective he will be bears watching.

‘‘Maybe it will be next week,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘We are going to try our best.’’