SEATTLE — The White Sox have insisted all along they have no set number of innings for Carlos Rodon this season.
They see the rookie’s first-year workload as fluid and have adapted his schedule when necessary. So far their plan has included a nine-day stretch between starts in May, 10 days in late June/early July and 11 more wrapped around the All-Star break.
Given how Rodon has performed of late — he has a 1.23 ERA in his last three starts — the White Sox feel pretty good about how they’ve managed their young left-hander.
“For any young guy, the later you get into the year and him being in here, you’re always careful to watch it and see what the workload is and where he’s at, but I think as of right now he’s only gotten better,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I haven’t seen him slow down at all. I haven’t seen his velocity go down. With the command he’s now going out there featuring, it’s gotten better.”
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Rodon is about to head into uncharted territory.
Between North Carolina State and the minors, Rodon pitched 123 1/3 innings in 2014, and that included a two-month layoff between games. After he pitched seven innings in Saturday’s victory, Rodon’s combined total this season is 116 2/3 innings with roughly eight starts to go.
Rodon said after Saturday’s game that he feels good. Though he would love to have pitched every fifth day like the other members of the rotation all season, he understands the process. Because it’s happening in the big leagues, “it’s always worth it,” Rodon said.
At this point, communication is key between the pitcher, pitching coach Don Cooper and the training staff, and Ventura said Rodon has handled it well. Ventura also thinks the examples Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Co. set for Rodon helps.
So far, general manager Rick Hahn likes how everything has gone, especially given how Rodon has stepped up his performance of late. But Hahn and the White Sox plan to continue to monitor the situation and adjust accordingly.
“We took great pains along the way to try to give him extra rest or skip a start when we could or push back a start to give him a little more time, especially around the break, with the hope being he would be strong come August or September,” Hahn said. “Over the last couple of starts it seems like he is getting stronger, which shows, knock on wood, that the plan seems to be coming together in terms of that. Again heading into this thing it could have been at 80 innings, it could have been at 120, 140, whatever when ultimately he hit the wall. He’s showing no signs of it now, but we’re still going to be diligent just in case the next weeks or so we need to make an adjustment.”