"Being able go fastball-changeup and be able to succeed and compete with them was pretty awesome," Rodon said. "Gave me a little more confidence."
"Obviously, it's Spring Training," said White Sox catcher Dioner Navarro, who worked with Rodon in a game for the first time. "Everybody knows everybody is working on something. Coming into the game today, I wanted to see how far he can go without [the slider], and he did a great job."
Per FanGraphs, Rodon used the slider -- his go-to out pitch -- 30.6 percent of the time last season during his 23 starts. His changeup was used 8.7 percent of the time.
Rodon threw four sliders in his first spring start against the Padres with Alex Avila behind the plate, but it has been a while since Rodon went a whole outing without using his out pitch.
"Maybe since, like, middle school," said Rodon, who struck out three and -- more importantly -- didn't issue a walk in the four innings. "Just let them hit it. Two-seam, beat it into the ground and just getting ahead."
"It doesn't matter how hard you throw or what kind of stuff you've got if you fall behind the hitters," Navarro said. "We're facing pretty good hitters throughout the whole league, and he just did a great job, man."
Navarro has caught Rodon's slider during bullpen sessions,so he doesn't need to see it in a game to realize how good it is.
"It's pretty good," said a smiling Navarro.
"I'm sure I'll bust it out throwing it a little bit to get ready for the season," said Rodon of his slider. "Right now, it's just fastball command and progression of the changeup."