Rodon healthy, eager for Spring Training work

White Sox lefty looks to overcome struggles down stretch in '18

February 15th, 2019

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox left-hander feels like "a normal guy" after going through a normal offseason where he didn't have to worry about injury rehab work.

"It was good," said Rodon, speaking on Friday morning before throwing a side session at Camelback Ranch. "It felt like a normal year, but it actually didn't really feel like a normal year because a normal year for me was going through an injury.

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"I had a good offseason. Got to be healthy and finally show up here healthy, and have a healthy spring. So, I'm excited."

Rodon had arthroscopic left shoulder surgery in September 2017, and he was working his way back last Spring Training. He made 20 starts in '18 after debuting on June 9, finishing with a 4.18 ERA over 120 2/3 innings, while striking out 90 and walking 55.

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From July 5 to Aug. 27, Rodon put together a 1.84 ERA with 32 hits allowed over 63 2/3 innings, and he looked like the top-of-the-rotation presence the White Sox envisioned in 2019. He struggled down the stretch with a 9.22 ERA in September, but that number was influenced by 14 earned runs yielded over 3 1/3 innings during his final two starts against the Cubs and Twins.

Despite all the rehab work Rodon put in to get back, coupled with his ensuing work on the mound, he refused to blame fatigue for the rough finish.

"I felt pretty strong. I just got my [butt] whooped. That's pretty much it," Rodon said. "I'm never going to blame it on being tired or any of that stuff."

"He's being accountable and responsible to everything," manager Rick Renteria said. "We do look at coming back as being off, pushing, and so we'll say it might have had a little fatigue factor to it at the end. Even if you are fatigued, I know in his mind, he's thinking I can find ways of still getting it done."

Anderson moves into leadership role

In just his fourth big league season with the White Sox, has become a veteran leader. It's what the fiery Anderson does as much as what the shortstop says elevating the 25-year-old into that role.

"Seems like it, yeah. It's coming on me quick, but I'm enjoying every moment of it," Anderson said. "I'm here to bring a spark to the team. I just go out and play the game the way I'm supposed to. I think everybody will fall into line."

"I could see more of that with him," Renteria said of Anderson. "He takes his job seriously. He understands how he can impact us on the field, and he is starting to see how he can impact us in the clubhouse. People grow into those roles. Time and comfort start to put you in those positions, but he is a competitor down deep. He goes about it that way."

Fulmer gets bullpen plaudits

Renteria liked what he witnessed from right-hander during Friday's side session.

"He looked pretty good," Renteria said. "It was actually quite different from the first one. It was good the first [bullpen session], but today was better.

"Hitting his glove. Throwing strikes. Clean line. Ball looked like it had some life."

Fulmer was the team's top pick and the eighth overall selection in the 2015 MLB Draft, but he has struggled to find a niche during his time with the White Sox. He worked extensively at Driveline Baseball in Seattle during the offseason, and he told before Spring Training that there were noticeable up-ticks in his spin rate and velocity during his sessions at the facility.

A spot in the bullpen looks to be Fulmer's best chance to break camp at this point.

"Let's see where it continues to evolve," Renteria said. "You never want to place limits on people. You want them to be able to show you what they are capable of doing.

"I know deep down in his heart, he wants to start. I think their performances and the way they improve and make adjustments will dictate ultimately where they fall. But we will see how this spring goes for him."

They said it

"It's pretty good. I was just telling [executive vice president] Kenny [Williams] that, out there telling [general manager] Rick [Hahn] that. We were watching it. We certainly have changed. The organization in general as a whole is in really good shape with the arms that we have." -- Renteria, comparing the abundance of pitching talent he's watching on a daily basis now to what he saw upon first arriving with the White Sox