GLENDALE, Ariz. — Carlos Rodon is finally set to pitch in an exhibition game.
The White Sox announced on Friday that their third-year pitcher would make his Cactus League debut Sunday at the Los Angeles Angels in Tempe, Ariz. So far Rodon has been limited to pitching in simulated games or against teammates in live batting practice. While he's managed to find motivation in those less-stimulating atmospheres, Rodon looks forward to facing a living, breathing opponent instead of a teammate.
"It's been a little while since I've been in a game," Rodon said. "I'm looking forward to it.
"I still had that geek when I faced the guys on the backfield, just live BP. It will be a little different this time. Get to face a different team."
Rodon threw 63 pitches in a simulated game the last time out and could be stretched even further on Sunday. The outing is the first of two planned starts for the left-hander. He's also potentially in line to pitch the club's final exhibition game here on March 29. But the White Sox aren't looking past Sunday.
"We're just looking for him to be in control and command, poised and do what he does," manager Rick Renteria said. "It's not about a whole lot of pressure, it's about being happy to have him out there on the mound and get him going."
The White Sox have taken a measured approach with Rodon all spring. They started him slowly in order to save him for what is expected to be a lengthy 2017 campaign as well as to help him avoid fatigue that surfaced in the middle of last season. But Rodon is now in a position where he must hit every mark to start by either the fifth or sixth game of the regular season. Despite a schedule with little margin for error, Rodon currently remains on the schedule.
"From all indications he has thrown very well and feels very good," Renteria said.