White Sox

White Sox confident with Carlos Rodon leading young rotation: 'The sky is the limit'

White Sox confident with Carlos Rodon leading young rotation: 'The sky is the limit'

The White Sox had high expectations for Carlos Rodon when they drafted him with the third overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft.

The NC State product had the qualifications and make-up to be a No. 1 starter, but it would have been difficult to emerge as the ace in a rotation that already featured Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.

But since Rick Hahn & Co. hit the full rebuild button last offseason, Rodon’s time to become “the guy” has arrived.

In the midst of his third season in the majors, the 24-year-old southpaw went from being a mid-rotation player — behind Sale and Quintana — to being the leader of a young pitching core.

The White Sox have all the faith in the world that Rodon can be a top guy in the organization.

“I think he’s got a quality arm that I believe, if he stays within himself, can be an impactful guy as part of the next group of pitchers that are joining us,” said manager Rick Renteria.

Though Rodon's outing on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays was cut short after four innings due to a lengthy rain delay, he improved from his previous one against the Detroit Tigers a week ago, where he allowed five earned runs in five innings.

Rodon held the Rays to one run on two hits and recorded four strikeouts while walking three.

“He’s been working his butt off up here, really focusing in on what he needs to do to get ahead of hitters, finding that strike zone and the walk numbers are going down,” catcher Kevan Smith said. “But even if he does walk a guy he’s got to learn that that’s just part of the game. He’s got to learn to minimize that stuff.”

Prior to that game against the Tigers, he had a 2.25 ERA with 37 strikeouts in those previous five starts. Consistency is the biggest key to being a reliable ace, and he’s slowly improving in that area.

“The one word that comes to my mind is just dominant on the mound,” Smith said. “When he stays confident, when he stays with his keys, he’s almost unhittable sometimes. It’s exciting to see and he’s only going to get better. He just needs to keep rolling with that confidence, rolling with the success. The sky is the limit for that guy and it’s exciting.”

Those words sound fairly similar to what Sale said about his former teammate last month when the White Sox visited the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, saying Rodon “could be as good as anyone.”

Rodon’s season was off to a rough start after he missed the first three months of the season with bursitis in his left biceps. Even when he returned, he struggled with his command at times. But he has settled down nicely since then and he’s showing exactly why he can become the team’s future ace.

It’s hard to imagine a scenario where the White Sox re-sign Derek Holland when his contract expires at the end of the season, along with James Shields after 2018. Miguel Gonzalez is also out of the mix after he was dealt before the waiver trade deadline.

The rotation continues to thin out on paper, but the opportunities are becoming more available for the future youngsters to take control. And we're getting a glimpse of it already.

Reynaldo Lopez returned from the disabled list on Friday and had a solid outing after rebounding from a pair of early mistakes. Carson Fulmer picked up his first career victory on Saturday in relief of Rodon. Lucas Giolito will also have his chance in Sunday’s series finale.

“I like the direction the White Sox are going with,” Smith said. “I love that they’re getting them up here to start getting some experience. We can start working together regardless of this month (and) how it goes. With wins or losses, obviously nobody likes to lose but we’re here to develop.”

“It’s just fun to work with these guys knowing the potential and the futures they have here and just looking forward to the years in the future where you see that guy who’s pitching today and you have a solid chance of winning like you saw with (Sale) up there, or (Gonzalez), or Quintana. It’s definitely exciting.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: 'Searching for a safe space in Cubslandia'

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: 'Searching for a safe space in Cubslandia'

With the Cubs back in the NLCS, White Sox fans have had to deal with another post-season of Cubs this and Cubs that. How does one escape it? Diehard White Sox fan John Kass of the Chicago Tribune comes on the podcast to talk with Chuck Garfien about his recent column entitled "Searching for a safe space in Cubslandia." Kass talks about how he's dealing with the Cubs success and how White Sox fans can find this safe space. He tells the story about taking the White Sox World Series trophy into a Chicago Tribune board meeting in 2005 to rub it in the faces of the Trib's executives who were all Cubs fans.  

Kass talks about how he watches the Cubs in the playoffs, the Chicago media coverage of their playoff run and how Cubs fans will react if they don't repeat as champions. Garfien and Kass also discuss the White Sox rebuild, the Cubs losing in 2003 and why Kass will be calling Cubs Pre and Post host David Kaplan in the middle of the night if and when the Cubs are eliminated.  

White Sox mourn passing of former pitcher Daniel Webb

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USA TODAY

White Sox mourn passing of former pitcher Daniel Webb

Former White Sox pitcher Daniel Webb died at the age of 28 in an ATV accident on Saturday night, according to Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis.

Davis called it a “tragic accident, and we should rally around the family.”

Webb, a Paducah, Ky. native, was with the White Sox from 2013-16 and went 7-5 with a 4.50 ERA.

The White Sox released this statement:

Daniel left many friends within the Chicago White Sox organization, and we are all shocked and stunned by the news of last night's terrible accident. He was a terrific young man with a full life ahead of him. All thoughts and prayers go to his family and friends as they deal with today's tragic news.