White Sox Injured Pitchers Closer to Return

May 9, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA;Getting Zack Putnam back would be a boost to the White Sox bullpenMiron-USA TODAY Sports
May 9, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA;Getting Zack Putnam back would be a boost to the White Sox bullpenMiron-USA TODAY Sports /

White Sox pitchers Carlos Rodon and Zack Putnam have recently shown improvement in healing from their injuries. Rodon has felt more mobility in his sprained wrist and Putnam threw off the mound for the first time in almost a month.

Rodon told Scott Merkin of WhiteSox.Com “This last week, I made a lot of progress. Two days into vacation, I really couldn’t move it,” referring to the start of the All-Star break. “The past couple of days, now I can move it around a little bit, and it’s feeling better.”

Rodon said he should be ready to go in another week. That would mean one or two more missed starts. The White Sox recalled Jacob Turner from AAA Charlotte to start in Rodon’s place today. The likelihood is that Turner gets those starts barring injury or a disastrous performance.

Rodon was placed on the DL after he injured his wrist when he slipped on the top step of the dugout during the national anthem July 6. Merkin reported that Rodon began throwing off the mound from 60 feet for the first time since the injury. That seems to indicate he will not be ready when he is eligible to return on July 21.

Putnam also began throwing off the mound Saturday. He has been out since June 20 when he walked the bases loaded in Boston. Merkin reported he threw 20 pitches, only focusing on cutters and sinkers. He seems a bit further ahead of Rodon. He had been playing catch.

Related Story: White Sox Place Carlos Rodon on the 15 Day Disabled List

Putnam is suffering from ulnar neuritis in his right elbow. The National Institute of Health describes it as “ulnar neuritis dysfunction is a problem with a nerve that travels from the shoulder to the hand, called the ulnar nerve. It helps you move your hand and wrist.” The ulnar nerve is commonly known as the funny bone and similar to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Merkin reported some of Putnam’s options were surgery to remove bone to chips or Tommy John surgery. Putnam told Merkin that he is day to day depending on how his elbow feels.

Rodon was not having the kind of season the White Sox needed from him before going on the DL. He is 2-7 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. His 3.1 W/9 are down from 4.6 last year and his K/W rate is up from 1.96 to 2.94.

His control and walks are still concerning. Rodon ranks 49th in strikeout to walk ratio (amazingly just ahead of Jake Arietta) and 64th in walks per nine innings. Rodon needs to exhibit better control to be more successful.

Putnam has bounced back from a mediocre 2015. He has a 2.37 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, was averaging nearly ten strikeouts per nine innings and had a 2.73 strikeout to walk ratio. The White Sox bullpen has been good, but Putnam would add some much-needed depth.

Next: White Sox Will Start Jacob Turner on Sunday

Putnam is fourth among the White Sox relievers  in strikeouts despite pitching ten less innings than any of the top three.