From non-tendered to no-hitter.
Carlos Rodón joined teammate Lucas Giolito in throwing a no-hitter Wednesday night, the 20th ever by a White Sox pitcher. He lost his bid for the 24th perfect game in big league history when he hit Roberto Pérez with a pitch with one out in the ninth inning.
Rodón, who has battled through injury after injury during his big league career, was non-tendered by the White Sox in December, and even after they brought him back on a one-year, $3 million deal later in the offseason, it was no sure thing that he would make the team's starting rotation out of camp.
But Rodón was excellent during spring training, benefitting from working with new White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz, and carried it over into the regular season. He was scratched from his scheduled start Monday with an upset stomach. He was anything but upset Wednesday, setting down 27 of the 28 Cleveland Indians he faced without allowing a hit.
After battling significant arm injuries for years, Rodón felt he had something to prove, hoping to show he could stay healthy rather than live up to the one-time expectations of him becoming a future ace. He sure looked ace-like on Wednesday. A less-than-menacing Indians lineup never had a chance. He was efficient, and his defense made some good plays behind him, Yoán Moncada and Leury García making some nice picks on the infield.
But it was José Abreu fielding a ground ball in the top of the ninth and sliding to barely prevent Josh Naylor from breaking things up with an infield single.
Not even a few long layoffs between innings flustered Rodón. The White Sox offense erupted for a six-run first inning, sending 11 men to the plate. That gave Rodón a gigantic early lead, and he was just as effective after watching the bats for so long.
Rodón, who the White Sox made the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, hadn't lived up to the hype of his draft position through his first six years in the majors. But his sterling start to the 2021 season allows the White Sox to dream not of Rodón as a future ace but as a dependable and effective member of a deep rotation, a guy who could help them win playoff series come October.
While a solid effort to start his season last week in Seattle sparked those same thoughts, projecting a dominant White Sox rotation became 1,000 times easier after Rodón's one for the record books Wednesday night.
It's a heck of a development for a White Sox team looking for a World Series championship this fall. It's an even better one for Rodón, who went from non-tendered to a no-no in four months.