White Sox’s Rodon faces tall task in return from surgery

BOSTON — Carlos Rodon has been waiting more than eight months for his chance to come back.

The Chicago White Sox left-hander, who underwent shoulder surgery in September, figures to make his 2018 major league debut and face David Price and the Boston Red Sox on Saturday at Fenway Park.

Nothing was official after Friday night’s 1-0 win, and the White Sox didn’t have a starter listed for Saturday. But Rodon was likely to face sizzling Price and a Red Sox team that has dropped two straight and fallen out of first place for the first time since May 22.

After striking out 28 in four rehab starts covering 17 2/3 innings while pitching to a 1.53 ERA, Rodon, who survived getting hit in the head with a line drive in the minors, arrived Friday at Fenway ready to crank it up for real.

“It’s a little frustrating, but, well, I’m here,” Rodon said before Friday night’s game. “So that’s better, a positive. It was a good road. It wasn’t as long as we thought it was going to be, I guess.

“Maybe it’s about the same. I don’t know. I would have liked to have been back sooner, but I don’t make the calls. It was a good progression, and I found some stuff in the minor leagues with some guys and made it back.”

Rodon, 20-21 in his career, would try to do what White Sox pitching did in the series opener Friday night, when Dylan Covey and three relievers combined on a three-hit shutout in the victory over former teammate Chris Sale.

The win was the third in the last four games for the White Sox (21-40).

Rodon made only 12 starts last season because of the shoulder problem, erasing the positives of what he had done in 2016.

Price is 4-0 with a 2.87 ERA in his last five starts, yielding three earned runs or less in each of the outings. Opponents are hitting just .195 against him in those games. He is 6-4 with a 4.08 ERA for the year.

The left-hander is 5-5 with a 3.41 ERA in 14 career games — all starts — against the White Sox. He has allowed 10 home runs in 97 2/3 innings against them.

The current White Sox roster is a combined 7-for-45 (.156) against Price, with Jose Abreu 2-for-18 (.111) and Yolmer Sanchez 0-for-7.

Rodon is 0-1 with a 3.29 ERA in two career games against the Red Sox but had a strong performance against them last Aug. 4 — two runs, six hits and 11 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. The Red Sox won the game and Rodon didn’t get a decision.

Mitch Moreland is the only Boston hitter with more than three career at-bats against Rodon, going just 1-for-9 (.111). But J.D. Martinez, who missed Friday’s game with a back problem and is expected to play Saturday, has a home run off Rodon.

Chicago’s Adam Engel missed his second straight game with a right hamstring injury and is considered day to day.

The Red Sox (43-21) were blanked for the second time this season, the first since Sean Manaea’s no-hitter in Oakland on April 21, as they wasted Sale as the hard-luck loser. He is saddled with his first three-game losing streak with the Red Sox.

He hit 100.3 mph on one pitch and struck out 10 in eight innings – after two shaky starts.

Boston’s Mookie Betts (abdominal strain) was eligible to come off the disabled list Friday and is progressing but not ready.

“He felt better,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “I think where it bothers him, sometimes you’re hesitant, so I understand it, and like I told him, ‘We’re not pushing you to come sooner rather than later. You come back whenever you’re ready. We trust you.’

“We’ve done it the whole season. We’re not going to change now. We’ll go through the same thing and see how he reacts to it.”

The Red Sox recalled right-hander Justin Haley from Triple-A after returning Thursday starter Jalen Beeks.