Carlos Rodón's return to the Chicago White Sox starting rotation could come relatively soon.
The All-Star lefty was placed on the 10-day injured list with shoulder fatigue earlier this week, sent home from Minnesota to receive further evaluation. It seemed there wasn't a great deal of worry at the time that the stay would be an extended one, but the results of that further evaluation have delivered more optimism that Rodón won't be off the mound for long.
"The exam was encouraging," La Russa said before Sunday's game. "No damage, just tired. The soreness was there, but it wasn't anything that wouldn't make us optimistic.
"Not written in cement, but I know the results of the exam and his first efforts to play catch, and all that are encouraging. If you look at it, that maybe translates in him getting a start in, maybe, Toronto. It's not definite, but it's possible."
Rodón returning for the series against the Toronto Blue Jays would make his IL stay a little longer than 10 days, but it'd still be brief enough to ease any concerns that the White Sox would be without one of their best starting pitchers for an extended period of time as they try to wrap up the American League Central crown and focus on reaching their World Series goals in October.
The White Sox rotation is set for the upcoming four-game series against the Oakland Athletics, with Reynaldo López filling in for Rodón in the second game of the set Tuesday. After the quartet with the A's, it's a seven-game road trip through Tampa Bay and Toronto.
Obviously, the White Sox should be thrilled with the news on Rodón's shoulder. The South Siders will undoubtedly need him to be a part of a full-strength rotation if they're going to make the lengthy October run they're hoping to. The starting pitching has carried the White Sox to this point, and it seems capable of stacking up with any other in the game, assuming good health, which the team is attempting to make as likely as possible by monitoring their starters' rest over the final month and a half of the regular season.
It's similarly good news for Rodón, individually, who has suffered numerous significant shoulder and arm injuries throughout his career. Throughout this breakout season, he's been hoping for a healthy campaign allowing him to play an impact role at the season's most important points, and this current IL stay doesn't seem to be knocking him off that course.