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Rodon to make first rehab start Saturday

Left-hander underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery in September; Gonzalez experiences setback, while Garcia, Robert progress
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- Carlos Rodon's rehab is moving from Arizona to North Carolina, with White Sox general manager Rick Hahn announcing on Thursday that the southpaw will make a start with Class A Kannapolis on Saturday.

Rodon, who has been making starts at extended Spring Training, had arthroscopic shoulder surgery last September, sidelining him for six to eight months.

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CHICAGO -- Carlos Rodon's rehab is moving from Arizona to North Carolina, with White Sox general manager Rick Hahn announcing on Thursday that the southpaw will make a start with Class A Kannapolis on Saturday.

Rodon, who has been making starts at extended Spring Training, had arthroscopic shoulder surgery last September, sidelining him for six to eight months.

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"He is currently without restriction other than building up his endurance and pitch count," Hahn said. "So this Saturday night at Kannapolis will be the first of multiple rehab starts."

Hahn wouldn't give Rodon a specific pitch count, joking he didn't want to give Saturday's opponent from Hickory any undue advantage. But Rodon figures to pitch somewhere in the five-inning range.

When all is said and done, Hahn believes Rodon's return without any setbacks will be somewhere in the neighborhood of June 1.

"It's been easier on Carlos because he's been through it before but because he feels so much better," said Hahn of Rodon, who has a career 3.95 ERA and 383 strikeouts over 373 2/3 innings. "There's a certain point when you're dealing with an injured player where they seemingly get over the hump psychologically and realize that they're no longer hurt, they're just building up baseball endurance again.

"And Carlos, at Spring Training, you could see was different than he was a year ago, that he was feeling good, he was without restriction and he knew it was more just building back up. Obviously it doesn't mean you're out of the woods until the guy's back at the big league level, but certainly he feels real good about where he's at and how this has progressed."

More injury updates
Right-handed pitcher Miguel Gonzalez, sidelined by rotator cuff inflammation, had a setback in his recovery as he was approaching a potential rehab assignment. Gonzalez received a PRP injection earlier in the week and he's no-throwing for 10 to 14 days. The White Sox will reassess at that point.

Right fielder Avisail Garcia is slowly ramping up activity in testing his Grade 2 right hamstring strain. Garcia is not asymptomatic in terms of what he's feeling, per Hahn, so the team is being very cautious in ramping up his work.

Video: SEA@CWS: Garcia exits with a strained right hamstring

"Given that it was a Grade 2 strain after the MRI, we knew we were going to have to be careful with this, and again we're trying to err on the side of caution," Hahn said. "When he initially left the game, I don't think we knew that it was a Grade 2, so we thought perhaps it would come a little more quickly. But the MRI made it clear, and with the player's reporting, we need to take our time with this one."

Luis Robert, the No. 3 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline and No. 26 overall, should be taking part in extended Spring Training games by the end of May as he continues rehab work from a sprained ligament in his left thumb suffered during Spring Training. The plan is for him to join an affiliate soon thereafter. Robert should spend the bulk of the '18 season at Class A-Advanced Winston-Salem, but it depends on how many games he gets in before the end of extended in determining where he goes once he leaves Phoenix.

Video: CIN@CWS: Robert puts White Sox ahead with grand slam

"He's progressing," Hahn said. "He's hitting in cages, he's doing defensive drills, and hopefully he'll be playing in games down there by the end of the month."

Sanchez in the outfield
Although Yolmer Sanchez has played two career innings in right field, manager Rick Renteria mentioned possibly using the talented switch-hitter in the outfield.

"Right now, we're in the infant stages of this conversation," Renteria said. "You don't want to disturb too much of the things that are going well with these guys. You want them to continue to develop and move forward."

Reinsdorf believes in rebuild
Hahn said the rebuild and this year's difficult start has been tough on White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who has tried to put this organization in the best position to win and win quickly since 1981. At the same time, Reinsdorf remains committed to the long-term.

"He recently subscribed to MiLB.TV at someone's encouraging, so he's focused on the Minors," Hahn said. "He's aware on the Minors, he asks questions about various players in the Minors of me, of [director of player development Chris Getz], of [executive vice president] Kenny [Williams].

"So he's invested in the process. It doesn't make the short-term any easier, but he's just like the rest of us. He believes in the plan, he believes in the vision, he's very optimistic about the progress we've made in the past 18 months and he's having some difficult nights here in the short-term."

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