Rodón, Lynn, Giolito returns set, Sox' rotation whole again

/ by Vinnie Duber
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Chicago White Sox' starting rotation, the cause of so much early September consternation, is about to be whole again.

A group winnowed down to 60-percent strength by injured-list trips for Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn, and weakened further by a shoulder-related delay in Carlos Rodón's next outing, should be back in fighting shape real soon. White Sox manager Tony La Russa informed Thursday that Rodón is likely to start Friday's series opener against the Boston Red Sox, adding that Lynn is likely to start the third game of that set Sunday and that Giolito is likely to start the opener of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.

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"I thought it was kind of ironic, after four months, we kept getting beat up with injuries and we always had our pitching. And here it is in September, and we've had three starters, ... each guy has had his injury or whatever the problem was," La Russa said. "Gio, ... throwing the ball great, I think he will pitch Tuesday. Lance is feeling improved. All of a sudden, the rotation against Boston is Carlos, Dylan (Cease) and Lance. Then you go into the Angels, and it's Gio.

"I like our chances of being the team we're supposed to be."

That's all very positive news for a White Sox team that has leaned on its rotation all season to surge to the top of the American League Central standings and set itself up as a true World Series contender. Indeed, the starting staff figures to be the White Sox' biggest asset come playoff time, which is why these injuries in the regular season's final month struck as significant, and potentially worrisome.


But as all three pitchers and their manager have outlined in recent days here in the Bay Area, it's better to get these injuries behind them now, rather than race to get back to full strength in the regular season's final days.

"I think if you were looking at where we're at and we had to push through it to make sure we had to make a playoff push, instead of being able to back down a little bit and get whatever we need the last two weeks of the season," Lynn said Wednesday. "If it's going to happen, it happened in the earlier part of September, where you can take a break that you need and be ready to go and ramp up at the end of September.

"I think it kind of worked out the best possible way it could have for where we're at."

Rodón has been working on extended rest throughout the season, dating back to spring training, and he'll now go more than four days between starts for the 16th time Friday, compared to just six starts made on "regular" rest. Throw in some of the soreness and fatigue that he'd prefer didn't turn into the kind of significant arm injuries he's experienced throughout his career, and the White Sox have felt it better to play it safe on multiple occasions.

"Sometimes I just need a little more time," Rodón said Thursday. "I think it's smarter to go out there at pretty close to 100 percent than feeling something that could cause something else.

"The staff's been great with trying to get me rest, and it's much appreciated on my end. It's been a while. Last year, I threw 11 innings. The year before, I don't know, I threw around 30. It's kind of my body just getting used to it. But I have to go out there and make these last starts. I want to be ready for that postseason push."

That's been the wonder with these simultaneous injuries so late in the season, the ones to the pitchers, as well as the one to shortstop Tim Anderson. The White Sox have talked for months now about their goal to peak at the right time, at the end of September, so they're playing their best baseball heading into the playoffs. So would Giolito, Lynn and Rodón have enough time to get to where they want to be by then?

They seem to think so, getting a few starts apiece a far more valuable thing than going into the postseason cold.

"I'm looking forward to coming back after a couple of bullpens, and then I'll have a chunk of starts before the playoffs," Giolito said. "It's not like I'm just going in out of nowhere."


"I think (the last few starts are important) so I can get back into that groove, get the consistency and the command, attacking hitters to get that and transition to the playoffs with it," Rodón said. "That's kind of the goal, to get the pitch count up and be ready."

Thanks to Thursday's good news, these guys can get going on that right away.

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