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It would certainly seem like another rehab start would be unnecessary for Carlos Rodon. He bounced back from taking a line drive to the forehead in his previous start, throwing five scoreless innings and 86 pitches against Lehigh Valley on Tuesday. Combine his two Triple-A outings, and you get this otherworldly line: 7.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 14 K.
Perhaps the White Sox want to see him throw starter-type pitch counts on regular rest against against advanced competition before calling him up, but a road trip to Buffalo to face another mediocre International League lineup doesn’t seem like the best use of his time, either.
The White Sox have options due to a irregular schedule. They have an off day Thursday after finishing up the Indians series, and then they have an off day the following Monday. But then Tuesday is a doubleheader against the Twins, marking the start of a stretch of 21 games over 20 days.
That’s why they haven’t yet announced after of their starters for the weekend series against Milwaukee. A few ways they can go with it:
|Maintain 5 days||Shields||Covey||Giolito/Rodon|
The White Sox had Hector Santiago pitch the ninth inning on his throw day Monday, so it seems like they’re open to shifting him back into the swingman role they originally envisioned. However, if the White Sox are planning to call up Kevan Smith — he just came off the DL for Charlotte — to relieve Alfredo Gonzalez of his burden, I’d rather see two lefties in the rotation to combat Smith’s issues controlling the running game. That one should be answered pretty shortly, whenever the White Sox announce their Friday starter.
It makes more sense for the White Sox to send down one of Dylan Covey or Lucas Giolito with Rodon starting Sunday, and I’m guessing it’s Covey should it come down to those two. Even if one of them is optioned to make room, the 26th man rules allow the Sox to start one of them during the doubleheader (they’d just need to return to Charlotte afterward to serve the required 10 days between call-ups). That’d keep both doubleheader starters on extra rest, and it’d also give Rodon an extra day before the three-week grind.
If the White Sox really wanted to appease the masses, they’d call up Michael Kopech for one of those doubleheader starts after Rodon pitches Sunday. The timing is just about right for his development, but the White Sox might want to space out their 40-man roster work. The Sox have to open one spot when Rodon comes off the 60-day DL, and while they have ways to create multiple vacancies — booting one of Gonzalez or Dustin Garneau from the catcher ranks, outrighting Ian Clarkin, shifting Ryan Cordell to the 60-day DL — they might want to see how Rodon responds to MLB stress before risking any permanent fates.
(Plus, the fan-service angle probably works better with a home start, rather than a debut in Minnesota.)
The Sox could also hold Rodon and subsequent pitching moves for the doubleheader on Tuesday, or they could start Rodon in Buffalo on Sunday and wait until Friday for the next domino. That seems less likely, because unless they alter the schedule to have Kopech or Carson Fulmer line up with the twin bill, the remaining starters wouldn’t be on the 40-man, and with multiple other roster considerations over the coming weeks, it wouldn’t make sense to create the space for such a temporary role.
UPDATE (10:45 a.m. CT): The Sox are going with the original rotation, but I’m guessing they’re waiting to make sure Rodon responds well between starts before deciding on Sunday:
Santiago, Shields, Covey Fri-Sat-Sun v Brewers. Wouldn’t rule out Rodon Sunday, tho. Threw 86 pitches last night. “Not (in rotation) at the moment but we’re still discussing it,” Renteria said.
— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) May 30, 2018