GLENDALE, Ariz. — Carlos Rodon has spent much of spring training focused on fastball command and developing his changeup.
But after Saturday’s start, which “all went downhill” in the fifth inning, Rodon is ready once again to put the focus to his trusty slider. Unsatisfied with how he threw his best pitch in Saturday’s 9-7 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, Rodon said he needs to work on the slider in his upcoming side session. Rodon allowed nine earned runs and 10 hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings on Saturday.
“Think I only had two (sliders) for strikes and probably got one guy swinging on one,” Rodon said. “All the others were in the dirt or just weren’t even around the zone. Didn’t really affect them. They just spit on them and waited for a fastball and laid off the changeup.”
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
Rodon’s spring ERA soared from 3.48 to 7.98 with the outing. He’ll pitch again on March 30 on an offday and makes his first start on April 6 at Oakland.
“At least it occurs down here and he can correct it, but he had been pitching well,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “This is the first one where it’s really a stinker where he goes out there and pitches like that. He still has great stuff and is a competitor and all that. Just not a good day for him.”
Rodon is pleased with the quality of his work on the fastball and changeup — “fastball-changeup has gotten a lot better, threw some good ones today,” he said.
He also is throwing his sinker in this spring, something new.
Now Rodon has 10 days to regain the slider, a pitch of which he throws three variations and is the very reason for his meteoric rise to the majors. Last season, hitters had a .160 average against Rodon’s slider, according to brooksbaseball.net.
“That’s the plan,” Rodon said. “That’s the hope. Gotta start throwing it again more, get it back, get it where it was.
“You can’t really do much when your secondary pitches aren’t over. It doesn’t help the fastball.”
Adam Eaton singled in two runs in three at-bats. Both Todd Frazier and Jimmy Rollins each had two hits in three trips.
Matt Albers and Zach Duke each pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief. David Robertson also added a scoreless frame.