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Between Carlos Rodon and Zack Burdi, the White Sox already had to nurse a couple of injured arms through spring training.
Micker Adolfo’s sprained UCL is a bit out of left field, or whichever corner he prefers.
Adolfo, who finally put together a mostly healthy 2017 after multiple season-shortening injuries, might not be able to summon an encore:.
“Micker Adolfo reported with some soreness in his arm after some drills the other day,” Hahn said. “We had it examined and unfortunately it revealed a sprain in his ulnar collateral ligament and a strain in his flexor tendon. While that is never good news, the positive side of it is that the tear is on the proximal side, which our doctors have explained to me means rehabilitation has a higher likelihood of working than the normal circumstances where a guy has a UCL tear or tendon tear.”
Even if he doesn’t need surgery, it sounds like he’ll miss the rest of spring training, then require extended spring training to make up for the time he missed.
There is some silver lining, in that Adolfo’s absence will alleviate some of the logjam in the outfield at Winston-Salem, which might have been rather crowded with some mixture of Luises (Robert, Gonzalez, Basabe) and non-Luises (Blake Rutherford, Alex Call, Jameson Fisher, etc.).
But Adolfo was the only international prospect out of Marco Paddy’s system with momentum, at least if you don’t count Luis Robert and his now-prohibited bonus.
Adolfo was the highest-ranked Latin American prospect in the White Sox system according to Baseball America, coming in at No. 17. The only other such signing in their top 30 is Lenyn Sosa at No. 28.
That’s positive news for Sosa, who signed out of Venzuela for $325,000 in 2016. He had an encouraging debut in the Arizona Rookie League, hitting .270/.330/.358 with 14 walks and 24 strikeouts over 180 plate appearances.
It’s just not a great reflection on the rest of the system, as nobody has been able to break through the barrier at High-A. Johan Cruz has come the closest to smashing the Dash Ceiling, and he’s only logged 75 games of below-average hitting there.
Going year by year through Paddy’s first three signing periods, Adolfo was the only July 2 guy who had generated detectable upward momentum. Everybody else had either topped out in the low (low) minors, or hasn’t yet received regular playing time stateside.
- Winston-Salem: Johan Cruz, Yelmison Peralta
- Kannapolis: Antonio Rodriguez
- Great Falls: Hanleth Otano
- AZL White Sox: Victor Done, Luis Castillo
- DSL White Sox: Roger Ramos
- Kannapolis: Micker Adolfo
- AZL White Sox: Maiker Feliz
- DSL White Sox: Jose Reyes
- Kannapolis: Yosmer Solorzano*
- Great Falls: Carlos Perez, Amado Nunez, Felix Mercedes
- AZL White Sox: Jhoandro Alfaro, Jose Colina, Andres Sanchez
- DSL White Sox: Jorgen Rosas
(*Solorzano made one spot start in Winston-Salem.)
I wouldn’t hold a slow start against Paddy since he had to build a system from the ground up after the David Wilder scandal, and it’s not his fault that his greatest success story belongs to San Diego now. It does underscore how important it was to sign Robert, because capitalizing on his talent can cover up for so much inefficiency elsewhere. The lack of traction is also another reason why it’s hard for the Sox to forfeit draft picks at this stage in the rebuild, even if signing a protected free agent would help the team up top.
UPDATE (12:40 p.m.): This struck me as weird …
Rick Hahn with an update on Micker Adolfo: He will be used as DH this season. Hope is he won't miss full season of at-bats. Still hasn't ruled out surgery at some point down the road. #WhiteSox
— Kevin Powell (@kpowell720) February 25, 2018
… until this follow-up:
Adolfo could still have TJ surgery if his injury does not improve with rest. If that happens, Sox will try to have that surgery timed so he is ready for 2019 fully healthy. Hahn estimated the recovery for that at 7-9 months
— James Fegan (@JRFegan) February 25, 2018
As Yinka Double Dare pointed out to me, Brewers first-round pick Keston Hiura successfully navigated this obstacle this past season. Given the flaws in Adolfo’s approach even when completely healthy, I can’t say I have high hopes for him in a similar arrangement. But if surgery is a possibility regardless and it’s possible that more drastic action can contained to an offseason, then it may not hurt to get him reps and tracking pitches in Winston-Salem.
* * *[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s for the others, on the Patreon Request Line, Michael Wagner wanted updates on Carlos Rodon and Zack Burdi.
One update may be all that’s needed.
Rodon is unavailable for Cactus League play as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but he and the White Sox are handling it in the opposite fashion this year. Unlike last spring, when Rodon barely participated in drills and gave cagey answers before one start exposed his physical issues, he’s throwing in front of people and answering questions afterward.
It doesn’t mean he’s on a faster track, though. Rick Hahn said Rodon’s schedule takes spring training games out of play and puts him on the back end of that original six-to-eight-month timetable, which in turn puts him in line for a June return. The candidness doesn’t mean that any projected return is a safe bet given Rodon’s previous injury history, but just like the rebuild, it’s encouraging to see them learning from past mistakes.
As for Burdi, he had Tommy John surgery seven months ago, so the conservative window still has him missing all of the 2018 season, but he is at Camelback Ranch and throwing.
Zack Burdi throwing 7 months after Tommy John surgery. Trainer said, “It’s coming out good.” pic.twitter.com/4tm6Vf5Jry
— Chuck Garfien (@ChuckGarfien) February 16, 2018