White Sox

Carlos Rodon ready to make first MLB start Saturday


Carlos Rodon ready to make first MLB start Saturday

For the first time in three weeks, Carlos Rodon knows exactly what he’ll do at first pitch when he arrives at the ballpark on Saturday afternoon.

Whereas the pitching prospect has begun to adapt to the every day uncertainty in the bullpen, not knowing if he’d be needed each game, the White Sox announced Rodon would make his first major league start against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday. The announcement came shortly after news that Jeff Samardzija has dropped his appeal and began to serve his five-game suspension before Wednesday’s contest.

“I obviously have never started at this level, but at other levels, every five days you know what your day is and you know your routine,” Rodon said. “I’m back on it. It’s the same thing, the same routine I’ve done in Triple-A and college and high school, its just a little better hitters.”

Chris Sale is expected to follow Samardzija’s lead and drop his appeal on Thursday, which meant the White Sox needed a sixth starter this turn in the rotation. Rodon’s already stretched out, having thrown at least 60 pitches twice since he arrived on April 20 after making 87 in back-to-back minor league starts.

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Rodon threw 63 pitches in Saturday’s loss after he relieved Hector Noesi.

“He still kept his pitch count up there,” manager Robin Ventura said. “As far as him going out there and what to expect out of him from the start, there’s really not a limit to him going out there. He’s going to be out there and making his start and we expect good things.”

Rodon has shown he’s capable of those expectations this spring. He dominated the Kansas City Royals for four innings in mid-March and pitched well against the Los Angeles Dodgers, too. He struck out 21 batters in 17 2/3 innings and posted a 3.06 ERA.

As for what Rodon can expect after his first start, the White Sox aren’t yet saying. There’s an expectation from the fan base that once Rodon, the No. 3 overall pick last June, moves into the rotation, he wouldn’t be removed. But, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has said Rodon’s innings this season are a “scarce resource,” that they intend to monitor his workload.

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Rodon already has thrown 16 1/3 innings between the majors and minors. Saturday’s game is only the 27th for the White Sox, which means they have 27 turns of the rotation left this season. Were Rodon to stick and average six innings per start, he’d wind up with more than 180 innings pitched, which is likely higher than the White Sox hope to use him in the regular season.

Ventura said the White Sox would “figure it out” how to use the left-hander from here, but also added Rodon’s start is “a one-time thing” -- likely for now.

Rodon doesn’t want to look too far ahead as to how the White Sox may employ him. He’s just happy to know what he’ll do at 6:10 p.m. on Saturday.

“Honestly I have no idea,” Rodon said. “It’s just looking forward to Saturday and looking forward to that first hitter.”

After short stint in the majors, White Sox send Zack Collins to Triple-A

After short stint in the majors, White Sox send Zack Collins to Triple-A

When general manager Rick Hahn has talked about bringing up key prospects, he says he wants those players to be able to come up to the majors and stay there. That won't be the case with Zack Collins.

The White Sox sent the catcher down to Triple-A Charlotte following Monday's 5-2 loss to the Royals. No corresponding move will be made until Tuesday, but it is expected Welington Castillo will return from his rehab stint and rejoin the White Sox.

Collins was called up on June 18, but only played in nine games with seven starts in his 28 days on the big league roster. Collins drew a pinch-hit walk in his first plate appearance at the Cubs on June 19. He then homered two days later in his first start in Texas.

After that, Collins struggled. He goes back to Charlotte after hitting .077 (2-for-26) with five walks, the one home run and 14 strikeouts in 31 plate appearances.

It's unclear if Collins had a chance to stick on the roster or if the plan was for him to go back to Triple-A once Castillo was ready to return. Collins certainly didn't do himself any favors at the plate, but he also didn't see regular playing time.

Collins, a first-round pick in 2016, was seen working out at first base in fielding practice before games, but he stuck to catcher and DH. He could have played some first base or DH when Castillo returned. However, the White Sox claimed A.J. Reed off waivers and he debuted after the all-star break. Reed has taken the at-bats at DH, leaving Collins without regular at-bats.

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White Sox prospect Luis Robert on fire fresh off promotion to Triple-A

White Sox prospect Luis Robert on fire fresh off promotion to Triple-A

Luis Robert has been promoted twice in 2019, but nothing has slowed down his red-hot season.

The 21-year-old Cuban has only played in five games for Triple-A Charlotte, but has skipped past the adjustment period and has been productive in all five.

After collecting two hits, a walk and two stolen bases on Monday, Robert is hitting .429/.500/.810 for the Knights. He has reached base at least twice in every game with Charlotte.

Robert has shown some versatility in his game as well. He hit four extra base hits in his first three games, including two home runs in his first game for Charlotte. In the last two he has added three stolen bases. One of the stolen bases on Monday didn’t require a slide.

With Eloy Jimenez coming into his own for the White Sox and Dylan Cease one start into his major league career, Luis Robert is the clear gem of the White Sox system currently. The outfielder is ranked as the No. 5 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline.

Charlotte’s BB&T Ballpark is known as a hitters’ park and Triple-A plays with the same baseballs that have been under fire lately for being juiced for hitters in the majors. It makes sense that Robert would put up big numbers, but it’s still an impressive start that has White Sox fans antsy for his call-up.

It’s just five games and the White Sox haven’t been in any rush with their top prospects, but Robert is showing that he isn’t that far away from being ready for MLB pitching.

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