GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The gradual process employed by the White Sox for Carlos Rodon this spring reached the mound on Friday, as the southpaw threw 35 pitches in his first bullpen session.Rodon wasn't going at full force, only because he was suffering from a stomach ailment. But the White Sox
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The gradual process employed by the White Sox for Carlos Rodon this spring reached the mound on Friday, as the southpaw threw 35 pitches in his first bullpen session.
Rodon wasn't going at full force, only because he was suffering from a stomach ailment. But the White Sox wanted to keep him on track moving toward the start of the regular season, with another throwing session scheduled for Sunday.
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"Long-term plan is to make all 32 starts, stay healthy. And continue to climb and get better, make the next step forward. That's the plan for everybody," said White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper of Rodon. "He's starting to climb now."
Rodon is being brought along slowly with the extended Spring Training due to the World Baseball Classic, and to help maximize his regular-season innings. But Cooper threw an interesting twist into the plan when he mentioned "arm stuff" and problems from last year that they wanted to try to eliminate with Rodon.
On July 9, Rodon was placed on the disabled list with a sprained left wrist he suffered while climbing and falling over the railing of the home dugout. General manager Rick Hahn stated unequivocally the wrist was the reason for Rodon's trip to the disabled list and then explained Cooper's comment.
"There was a point over the course of the summer where in between his starts, Carlos was expressing some arm fatigue and not feeling 100 percent right," Hahn said. "We altered his between-start routine, something we refer to as prehab, in the shoulder exercises and what he does in between starts. That helped resolve the issue.
"Anything that was going on with the arm last season certainly didn't rise to the level that we would call injury or being hurt."
Once Rodon returned from the disabled list, he posted an 8-4 record with a 3.45 ERA and 77 strikeouts over 73 innings. He struck out the first seven hitters faced against the Twins on Sept. 30. So the White Sox are going slow with the 24-year-old, but they still have him targeted to be ready for the start of the regular season.
"Our plan all along, and remains to this day, is for Carlos to hopefully make 32 starts or so, and throw 200 or so innings," Hahn said. "He's currently on a program that, assuming he makes all the hurdles between now and then, he'll be ready to take the ball when his turn comes up the first week."
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.