White Sox dealing with extensive list of injuries two months into season. Updates provided on injured players, progress made on road to recovery.
The White Sox have had a tough time dealing with injuries over the past few seasons and 2017 has not been an exception. Some players who were slotted to start the season primed for a major role this season, as well as the future of the team, have been tremendously hindered by injuries, including two starting pitchers, a very highly-rated prospect, and key bullpen guys. As of Wednesday, the White Sox currently have seven players on the disabled list with injuries ranging from strains to inflammation to recovery from surgery.
Beginning with a few of the key players, a pair of prospects have been on the 60-day disabled list since early March, while a key veteran in the starting rotation has been sidelined on the 10-day DL since mid-April. The significance of these three injuries have been very frustrating and stressful to these players, as well as the coaching staff and the front office.
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Starting pitcher Carlos Rodon, who had battled through his fair share of injuries in his career, only made one start this season and that was in Spring Training. Rodon was placed on the DL with left biceps bursitis without a timetable to return. Following setback after setback, Rodon finally began to show some progress throwing in his fourth simulated game this past Monday.
More about his recovery here: Carlos Rodon Making Process, Timetable Still Unknown
Center fielder Charlie Tilson has been battling to stay healthy for the majority of his young career. He was actually returning in 2017 from a season-ending hamstring tear that cut his MLB debut short last July. Tilson was set to have a major role this season with Adam Eaton’s departure to the Nationals and a vacant spot in center field.
Tilson would not get an opportunity to earn or even lose his spot on the field as he was sidelined prior to the beginning of Spring Training, which must have been extremely frustrating for the 24-year old outfielder. Tilson was placed on the 60-day DL in mid-March with a stress reaction in his foot, an expected outcome of the surgery to repair his torn hamstring.
The center field spot was eventually given to another prospect, Jacob May, but that did not last very long. May’s terrible performance at the major League level (.056 AVG/36 AB/2 H/17 K) opened the door for White Sox veteran Leury Garcia, who has been one of the team’s best players this year (.295 AVG/7 Doubles / 6 HR/16 RBI). Tilson definitely has his work cut out for him when he returns.
However, this past Monday in Arizona, along with other injured Sox players, Tilson displayed significant progress in his recovery process. Tilson took batting practice and did light running and outfield work. His timetable for return still remains lengthy.
Starting pitcher James Shields surprisingly got off to a fantastic start this season. In three starts this season, he was 1-0 with 1.62 ERA, 16.2 IP, 3 ER, 16 SO, an OPP AVG of .153 and a WHIP of 1.14. Sox fans were definitely not expecting this kind of performance after Shields’ worst year in MLB in 2016, but unfortunately his great form was put on hold due to strained right lat. The White Sox were forced to put him on the DL on April 21.This was especially difficult news for the White Sox coaching staff, who is already dealing with a very short-handed pitching staff and starting rotation.
The White Sox have been forced to start pitchers like Mike Pelfrey and Dylan Covey and their results have been underwhelming (14 starts,1-8, 67.1 IP, 50 ER, 17 HR, 6.48 ERA). On Wednesday, Shields had his first bullpen session according to Dan Hayes at CSN Chicago.
The rest of the key injuries are all to relievers who were having a major impact on one of the best bullpens in baseball. Nate Jones, Jake Petricka, and Zach Putnam are all currently on the 10-day DL with injuries to their throwing (right) arms. Jones with elbow neuritis, Petricka with a lat strain, and Putnam with elbow inflammation.
Petricka only threw one scoreless inning, but Putnam and Jones have combined for 20.1 innings of bullpen work and only allowed 4 ER, 1 HR, and 11 H on 24 SO, and an ERA of 1.67. While these three players are sorely missed in the bullpen, good news came out of Arizona this week as all three pitchers showed great improvement in their recoveries.
Jones and Petricka both threw 20 pitches in a simulated game to live hitters, along with Rodon. Putnam threw off a mound showing great progress in his recovery. Each of the aforementiond relief pitchers returns are imminent and couldn’t come any sooner for the Sox, who are in dire need of reinforcements, as they’ve dropped 14 out of 21 games so far this month.
As the White Sox continue to shuffle around pieces and players around the field to compensate for an extensive disabled list, they can’t help but be pleased with the fact that they’re 20-25, only six games back from first place, and with reinforcements from the DL and the minor leagues coming to their aid very soon.