GLENDALE, Ariz. — The fatigue he experienced last season wasn't a big concern, but Carlos Rodon likes how the White Sox have proactively tried to solve the issue.
The team is hopeful that the methodical approach it has applied to the Rodon's spring schedule allows him to continue building arm strength while avoiding some of the growing pains that occur in the process.
The goal is for Rodon — who went 9-10 with a 4.04 ERA in 168 strikeouts in a career-high 165 innings last season — to reach the 200-inning mark this season and make 32 starts. But it's also to eliminate some of the periods of dead arm that occur within the buildup process, hence the extremely slow start to this spring.
"I guess (fatigue is) part of it," Rodon said. "It happens to most young pitchers, I would believe, getting used to preparing every five days, 32 starts and 200 innings. It's not an easy job, so it's something you need to get acclimated to, and I think we're doing a good job of it right now."
Rodon felt better on Saturday after he gutted through a 35-pitch bullpen session on Friday in spite of a stomach bug. Whereas the organization's other starting pitchers are close to making their second starts of the spring, Rodon is set to throw only his second bullpen of the spring on Sunday.
It's all part of the process of developing Rodon into a workhorse whose capable of delivering 200-inning seasons every year. Rodon had never thrown more than 132 1/3 innings in a season when he was drafted in 2014. He increased to 149 1/3 innings in 2015 and last season combined for 168 2/3 frames, including an outing at Triple-A Charlotte.
"You kind of want to go do (200 innings) right away, but that's not the smartest thing to do physically," Rodon said. "Mentally, it's tough too, just to be able to go every five days, make 32 starts against hitters this good, teams this good. It's not easy. So it takes time. But right now, I think we're going about it the right way."
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While the idea is to ease Rodon into spring, the process has reached the point where he's ramping up. To be ready for the regular season, Rodon has to hit each and every mark along the way to be ready for the first week of the regular season. The minimal margin for error forced Rodon into action even though he was sick and headed straight to the training room afterward to lie down.
"We had to stay on track," Rodon said. "We didn't want to miss (Friday), so we had to grind it out. Coop told me stay on track, so you can make a start when the season starts, and I said yeah, let's do it. I'm all for it.
"We grinded through and got it done, so it's good."