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White Sox want Rodon healthy for long haul

MLB.com @RichardJustice

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox general manager Rick Hahn remains optimistic that left-hander Carlos Rodon, who underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery in September, will return in the first half of the 2018 regular season.

"This is more about getting him healthy for the long term rather than an extra two or three starts in April or May of 2018," Hahn said. "I'm guessing it's going to be closer to June 1, but until he's actually throwing in games, it's still speculative."

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox general manager Rick Hahn remains optimistic that left-hander Carlos Rodon, who underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery in September, will return in the first half of the 2018 regular season.

"This is more about getting him healthy for the long term rather than an extra two or three starts in April or May of 2018," Hahn said. "I'm guessing it's going to be closer to June 1, but until he's actually throwing in games, it's still speculative."

White Sox Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

Rodon is in the early stages of a throwing program that, he said, is teaching him some lessons that surely will help in the years ahead.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"Patience," Rodon said. "I've learned some already. I'm not trying to rush through things. I'm listening to my body and my shoulder. Some days, I might not be able to throw, and some days I will. That's just the way this thing is going to go."

Like a lot of young players, Rodon did not know the difference between pain he was supposed to pitch through and pain that should have sent alarm bells.

"I didn't know what soreness or pain were," he said. "I just pitched through it. Now, I'm listening to my body better. I think at the end of this, it's definitely going to make me better."

As for the throwing program, he said, "Everything is going pretty much as planned. As early as we are in the throwing program, everything seems to be going well. I think we're close to four weeks in now, and a few more weeks to go. Keep chugging away and hope there are no setbacks.

"Lot of checkmarks I've still got to go through, and that's not a bad thing."

White Sox set rotation
Right-hander Dylan Covey will start Friday's Cactus League opener against the Dodgers at 2:05 p.m. CT on MLB.TV. White Sox manager Rick Renteria has six pitchers on his card that day, including right-hander Tyler Danish.

Rest of the early rotation:

Hector Santiago on Saturday vs. the Mariners.

Jordan Guerrero on Sunday vs. the Reds.

Michael Kopech on Monday vs. the A's.

Video: Top Prospects: Michael Kopech, RHP, White Sox

Kopech, 21, is ranked as the White Sox No. 2 prospect and baseball's No. 10 overall by MLB Pipeline. His fastball has touched 100 mph, and he averaged 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings in 25 starts (and 134 1/3 innings) at Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte last season.

He's one of the club's six prospects ranked among MLB Pipeline's Top 100 and a big reason the organization is so optimistic about the future.

"Last season, the plan for Michael was to take the ball every fifth day and have some success," Hahn said. "He blew past those expectations and got stronger as the year went on. He was dominant with his fastball and his slider. We need to see a little more changeup. At age 21, he'll be in Triple-A to start the year and work with those assignments. If he blows by those like he did last year, it'll create a good problem for us."

Anderson giving back
Shortstop Tim Anderson is still only 24 years old and he has played just 245 Major League games. But in a camp dotted with young players without that kind of experience, he understands that setting the right example and helping in any way he can is also part of his job description.

Video: Anderson talks about getting ready for the season

"I know how important that is," he said. "I've finally realized people will listen to you. I think in that way I've come out of my shell a bit. We had a great group of veteran guys that took care of me and showed me the ropes when I came up [in 2016]. Now I want to preach it to these guys."

Anderson specifically remembers the impact that veteran third baseman Todd Frazier's influence had on him.

"Frazier helped me a lot," Anderson said. "We just had fun. He's just an awesome dude. We'd go have lunch or whatever. Really, anything I asked for, he was there for me. You don't forget that kind of thing."

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

Chicago White Sox, Tim Anderson, Dylan Covey, Michael Kopech, Carlos Rodon