There's not much season left, but the White Sox are expecting two of their injured pitchers to be back before the team makes it to the finish line of the shortened 2020 campaign.
General manager Rick Hahn said Friday that both Carlos Rodón and Aaron Bummer are anticipated to return to the White Sox pitching staff before the end of the regular season on Sept. 27.
Rodón made an early exit in his second start of the season and has been on the injured list ever since recovering from shoulder soreness. Recently, Hahn informed, Rodón experienced some inflammation in his back and had that recovery interrupted. But he's expected to resume throwing Monday, and the White Sox hope he can rejoin the team, if not as a member of the rotation then out of the bullpen, as the pennant race comes down the stretch.
"Obviously time is starting to get a little bit short in terms of bringing him back, certainly as a starter," Hahn said, "but we are still optimistic that at some point over the course of the next couple of weeks we will be able to have him back in some capacity."
Even if they get him back, the White Sox might not have Rodón at their disposal for long, though. Hahn said that the left-hander might be placed on the 45-day IL to briefly free up a 40-man roster spot in the coming days, and in outlining that possibility, Hahn said that Thursday would be the 45th day of Rodón's injured-list stay, adding the team doesn't believe he'd be back before that day.
The White Sox have just 10 games remaining — which in this bizarre campaign, though, does account for a sixth of the season — after Thursday's series-finale against the Minnesota Twins.
The same might be true for Bummer, who Hahn said could return before season's end from what was initially a biceps strain but has since been described as a nerve issue. Hahn specifically mentioned the season's final road trip, which begins next Friday in Cincinnati and lasts seven games.
"We had him on a deliberate slow-build throwing program, one that would conceivably bring him back for the final stretch of the season here, the last week of the season or so," Hahn said. "And thus far, he’s hit every milestone. So he remains on track to potentially rejoin us some point on that final road trip."
The White Sox could use Rodón's services in the rotation, which even once Dallas Keuchel returns Thursday from his current stay on the IL will still have a hole in it as the team plays its final 17 games of the regular season over the next 17 days. But it's possible that Rodón, who entered the campaign after recovering from Tommy John surgery, might not be ready for a regular starter's workload upon his return. That remains to be seen.
But even adding Rodón and, obviously, Bummer to the bullpen for a short while would be a good thing for the White Sox. As well as the relief corps has performed this season, it's been needed a lot, particularly lately. Who knows what sort of relief role the White Sox envision for Rodón, but Bummer is perhaps the team's most important weapon out of the bullpen and getting that back would be huge for the postseason.
But with both guys, the clock is obviously ticking. There's not much season left.