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Rodon cleared to begin throwing program

Left-hander unsure of return date, but confident he'll be back in 2018
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- Carlos Rodon has been cleared to begin a throwing program Monday as he works back toward the Majors following season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder in September.

The left-handed hurler traveled from Phoenix to Los Angeles on Thursday for a follow-up appointment with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed the surgery. Rodon then made the journey to Chicago for the first day of SoxFest 2018 on Friday at the Hilton Chicago.

CHICAGO -- Carlos Rodon has been cleared to begin a throwing program Monday as he works back toward the Majors following season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder in September.

The left-handed hurler traveled from Phoenix to Los Angeles on Thursday for a follow-up appointment with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed the surgery. Rodon then made the journey to Chicago for the first day of SoxFest 2018 on Friday at the Hilton Chicago.

When Rodon had the surgery, he was projected to be out for six to eight months. Even with the positive news coming Thursday, the upbeat 25-year-old has no set timetable for a return.

"It's tough. I really want to be like, 'Hey, I'm going to be back on this day,' but I really don't know," Rodon said. "If I knew, I probably wouldn't tell you, but I'll flat-out tell you I don't know.

"I'm going to start throwing, and the guys are going to put some stuff together for a throwing program. Like I said, it's going to take a little time, but I'll be back this season."

Video: DET@CWS: Rodon whiffs Iglesias swinging in 4th inning

Rodon didn't make his debut in 2017 until June 28, as he was sidelined by left biceps bursitis after making one Cactus League appearance. He made 12 starts, striking out 76 over 69 1/3 innings, but he did not take the mound after facing the Rays on Sept. 2.

Expectations range high for Rodon, who was the third pick overall in the 2014 Draft and possesses a wipeout slider with a fastball capable of reaching 100 mph. Rodon understands those lofty expectations, but he won't judge himself based on the bar being set from outside.

"That's part of what we do. That's any professional sport," Rodon said. "People are going to have high expectations and they should, but one thing I learned a while ago is it's not the fans' expectations and the media's expectations. It's your own expectations of yourself that you need to live up to. If you can learn how to do that, you will be fine.

"You overcome some adversity, and I've learned how to deal with that. There are tough days and some good days and when you are sitting down in Phoenix and your team is playing, it's not always easy sitting on the couch, watching them on TV and just looking at yourself like, 'This really [stinks].'"

Regardless of where he is in the throwing program, Rodon wants to join the White Sox for Opening Day on March 29 in Kansas City. But he's taking a similar approach to his rehab as Chicago is toward its ongoing rebuild, in that Rodon is willing to be patient now to pave the way for long-term success.

"Miss a month now, and you gain a year later. You can look at it that way," Rodon said. "Everything is going well, and that's why I'm excited. Now we will really see what happens."

"I guess it's like the movie 'What about Bob?'" White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "Baby steps, my friend."

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