White Sox

Carlos Rodon paces White Sox past Indians

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Carlos Rodon paces White Sox past Indians

CLEVELAND — He probably won’t win the American League rookie of the year but Carlos Rodon’s future is as bright as any of the frontrunners.

The White Sox pitcher continues to excel late in his rookie campaign as he posted 7 2/3 more dominant innings on Saturday night. Rodon paced his team to its best game of the week as the White Sox survived another ninth-inning scare and topped the Cleveland Indians 4-3 at Progressive Field. David Robertson earned his 30th save but not until after he yielded a two-run homer in the ninth.

Rodon won consecutive starts for the first time in his career and posted his fourth win in his last six decisions to improve to 8-6 overall. While his 2015 resume isn’t as impressive as those of Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor, Minnesota’s Miguel Sano or Houston’s Carlos Correa, what he’s done recently is just as remarkable.

[MORE: Frustrated Robertson wants White Sox to know he's 'worth it']

“Those guys have some impressive numbers going with them, but there’s a longevity that comes with the kind of stuff Carlos has,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “That’s what he really has to hang his hat on, being able to go through a lineup, facing teams back to back. What he has and what he’s capable of in the future, if he does or doesn’t win rookie of the year, doesn’t mean anything about what’s going to happen next year.”

When he arrived in Cleveland on Thursday, Rodon was dressed as a naughty nurse as part of the team’s rookie costume tradition.

On Saturday, he was just nasty.

Twice in the game’s first four innings, Rodon found himself with a runner on third base. The scenario in the fourth also included a runner on second and no outs.

Only one of those three scored.

[RELATED: David Robertson breathes sigh of relief after pickoff ends contest]

Working efficiently, Rodon got out of each jam with limited damage.

With a man on third and one out in the opening frame, Rodon got Michael Brantley to hit a grounder right at Alexei Ramirez, who was playing in, to prevent a run from scoring. He ended the first with a strikeout of Carlos Santana to strand runners on the corners.

Ryan Raburn opened the fourth with a single and advanced to third on Santana’s double. But Rodon only allowed a run and kept the game tied at 1 as he recorded three straight outs, including a weak grounder to first and an infield pop out.

“Just bear down,” Rodon said. “I just have to be aggressive when I go at them. They’re going to be aggressive. I just try to make them swing, make poor contact or strike the guy out.”

From there, Rodon kicked into a higher gear, retiring 14 of 15 batters before allowing a two-out single in the eighth inning. He needed only 102 pitches (64 strikes) as he allowed six hits, walked one and struck out four.

“The whole time he was in control, command-wise he was locating great,” Ventura said. “It’s impressive what he’s done.”

[NBC SHOP: Buy a Carlos Rodon jersey]

Even more so when you consider Rodon hadn’t pitched since Sept. 8 aside from a bullpen session earlier this week. Since Aug. 11, Rodon has a 1.66 ERA in 48 2/3 innings with 16 walks and 45 strikeouts and the White Sox have won 14 of his 22 starts this season.

Both Rodon and pitching coach Don Cooper attribute much of the rookie’s success to his work in the bullpen, where the left-hander has identified and perfected a routine in between starts. Ventura also believes part of the development has come from Rodon’s metamorphosis from the much-ballyhooed rookie to just another one of the guys. Rodon entered the season as the No. 14-rated prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com.

With what he has done in a short amount of time, White Sox catcher Rob Brantly thinks Rodon should garner consideration for rookie of the year no matter how good the other candidates have been.

“There’s no question, especially for his first year and the amount of time he’s had in professional baseball, he should get some consideration for the job he’s done,” Brantly said. “He was drafted not too long ago and he’s here holding his own with some of the best names in baseball.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

SportsTalk Live is on location for White Sox Authentic Fan Night. Phil Rogers (MLB Network), Mark Carman (WGN Radio), David DeJesus and Ozzie Guillen join Kap to talk about Manny Machado Mania, Anthony Rizzo’s struggles and the White Sox plans for calling up their best prospects. 

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

White Sox add Alex Presley at Triple-A, another veteran outfielder who could factor into 2018 plans for banged-up outfield

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USA TODAY

White Sox add Alex Presley at Triple-A, another veteran outfielder who could factor into 2018 plans for banged-up outfield

Not long after the White Sox brought Michael Saunders into the organization, another outfielder with major league experience is joining Triple-A Charlotte.

Alex Presley — a 32-year-old who played 71 games last season for the Detroit Tigers and has also spent time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers — is the latest addition to the Knights’ outfield. He’s a guy who could potentially be used to help the White Sox outfield, which has seen two Opening Day players go on the disabled list for extended periods of time.

Avisail Garcia is in his fifth week on the DL while dealing with a Grade 2 hamstring strain. Nicky Delmonico is expected to miss the next four to six weeks while recovering from a broken bone in his hand. The White Sox might feel that the collection of Adam Engel, Trayce Thompson, Leury Garcia and Daniel Palka might be enough to get them through those injuries. But the results have not been great from that group. Engel and Thompson are both hitting under .200, while Leury Garcia and Palka have on-base percentages just above .300.

Presley, like Saunders, could be an option for a midseason promotion should he hit well in the minors. He hit .314 with a .354 on-base percentage in those 71 games with the Tigers last season. This year, he was playing in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization, where he hit .275 with a .347 on-base percentage in 26 games.

It’s possible we won’t see either veteran outfielder on the South Side this season (though having Presley here for Elvis Night would be pretty excellent), but it gives the White Sox options should the lack of production from their current crop of outfielders and the injuries to Avisail Garcia and Delmonico keep them out longer.

It’s also quite possible that none of the names mentioned to this point will have a role to play in this team’s long-term future, not an outlandish thought considering Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Micker Adolfo, Blake Rutherford and Luis Alexander Basabe are all still developing in the minor leagues.