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Rodon drops in, still hopeful for late-May return

Lefty visits team for shoulder checkup, to begin extended spring starts Monday
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- Carlos Rodon joined the White Sox Friday prior to the start of this six-game homestand for a follow-up doctor's appointment on his surgically repaired left shoulder.

Rodon will throw a side session Saturday for pitching coach Don Cooper at Guaranteed Rate Field and then will return to Arizona to begin making starts in extended Spring Training on Monday. That rehab trail will lead the left-hander throughout the White Sox system before returning to the White Sox some time after May 28.

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CHICAGO -- Carlos Rodon joined the White Sox Friday prior to the start of this six-game homestand for a follow-up doctor's appointment on his surgically repaired left shoulder.

Rodon will throw a side session Saturday for pitching coach Don Cooper at Guaranteed Rate Field and then will return to Arizona to begin making starts in extended Spring Training on Monday. That rehab trail will lead the left-hander throughout the White Sox system before returning to the White Sox some time after May 28.

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"Hopefully by the end of this 60-day deal maybe," Rodon said. "You never know what could happen, setbacks and whatnot.

"Those things can lengthen out the process, but if everything goes well, hopefully by the end of [May]. I can't really put a date on it."

The No. 3 pick overall in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft had arthroscopic surgery in September which was to sideline him for six to eight months. The 25-year-old was limited to 12 starts last season after not debuting until June 28 due to biceps bursitis and finishing Sept. 2.

But there seems to be a different level of confidence surrounding Rodon's recovery this time around, primarily because his shoulder feels good.

"I kind of know more of a plan now compared to last year. I kind of was clueless," Rodon said. "You never think surgery is a good thing, but in this case it's not bad at all, considering plan-wise and time-wise, we're a little more set in stone. I'm in a good place, especially getting to come up here, hang out with the guys and watch a game or two."

"He's thrilled to be here, thrilled to be out of Glendale [Ariz.] for a few days," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "I'm looking forward for him continuing to build over the next couple weeks."

Fulmer provides Friday's relief
After throwing just 46 pitches during a rough start against Oakland on Wednesday, Carson Fulmer pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief for the White Sox Friday during a 10-0 loss to the Astros. Fulmer threw 28 pitches for a White Sox squad that will play 11 games in 10 days starting Friday.

"Again, we were put in the situation where we needed to put him in there to help us out with the way we had used the bullpen," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "Carson's outing was much better. The breaking ball, the last breaking ball he threw had much better angle and bite, and he was able to get us an inning and a third and save some of the other guys that we'd used the previous day-and-a-half ago or so."

Fulmer is scheduled to start Tuesday against Seattle, and Friday would have been his side day anyway. Renteria was hopeful they could keep Fulmer on track, but added there are a lot of moving parts as they move forward.

Hahn's pregame assessment pointed directly to the 24-year-old not leaving the rotation any time soon.

"As we sit here right now, I think Carson is best served by getting the ball every fifth day and trying to learn at the big league level how to get through the struggles he's encountering," Hahn said. "That doesn't mean he's going to necessarily get the ball every fifth day in perpetuity. He's going to have to show he's making progress and this is best for his long term development.

"If we get to the point where we feel we are no longer improving, or he's no longer doing more good than harm for himself, then we might have to make an adjustment. Right now the plan is for him to continue to start and hopefully build in the right direction."

Minor injury updates
Alec Hansen, the team's No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was limited to one Spring Training appearance due to right forearm soreness. He continues the gradual process back to the mound at extended Spring Training on a throwing program clearly behind Rodon's.

Video: Top Prospects: Alex Hansen, RHP, White Sox

"This is a forearm muscle issue similar to something that he apparently went through previously in high school," Hahn said. "At least you have a player who is comfortable knowing where he is at, knowing that he's been able to bounce back from this before.

"Physically or medically there is no concern about this. It's just a matter of getting the thing completely calmed down and then building up for the lost time we've had."

Outfielder Luis Robert, the team's No. 3 prospect, will be in Chicago next week for a follow-up doctor's appointment on his sprained left thumb ligament. He will then return to Arizona to slowly start ramping up baseball activity.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Carlos Rodon