Rodón's Return to Mound Doesn't Go Well

Brett Friedlander

Battling back from injury, former NC State ace Carlos Rodón pitched in a Major League game for the first time since Aug. 3 on Thursday.

But it didn't go well.

Despite facing only three hitters out of the bullpen, the Chicago White Sox left-hander took the loss in a pivotal game against the Cleveland Indians.

Rodón, who has spent most of the season on the injured list with a shoulder issue, was activated just before the American League Central showdown in Cleveland. And Manager Rick Renteria wasted little time putting him into a pressure situation.

Entering the game with two outs and the bases loaded with his team leading 4-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Rodón gave up a two-run single to Cesar Hernandez on a 3-2 pitch. He then yielded a double to the next hitter, Jose Ramierz, before getting the final out of the inning.

Although Rodón was only charged with one of the four runs that crossed the plate while he was on the mound, it was the difference in a 5-4 loss that allowed the Indians to complete a sweep of their four-game series.

“The plan was to be ready for whenever, for whatever,” Rodon told the Chicago Sun-Times after the game. “Anybody on this pitching staff mindset-wise wants that situation, me included.”

Thursday's appearance was Rodón's first out of the bullpen in five years. According to Renteria, it was something of an audition to see if the former first round draft pick might be able to help the White Sox during the upcoming postseason.

"He’s been a starter, (but) this is a situation that will present itself in the postseason," Renteria told the Sun-Times. "Do I want to find out then or do I want to find out now? It was intended to be a short stint.”

The White Sox are currently one game behind the first place Minnesota Twins and one game ahead of the Indians in the AL Central standings.

Although Renteria was the target of some criticism for being Rodón into such a key situation after more than a month of inactivity, the pitcher said it was him, not his manager that deserves the blame.

"I’m the one who threw the pitch,” said Rodón, who hit 96 MPH on the radar gun. “I’m the one who gave up the hits. He had nothing to do with throwing any of the pitches, so it’s not on him.”

Rodón is now 0-2 with an earned run average of 10.50 in three appearances this season.

The 27-year-old, who missed most of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, was the 2012 ACC Pitcher of the Year before leading the Wolfpack to the College World Series the following season. He finished his college career as State’s career leader with 436 strikeouts.

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