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Rodon encouraged by second BP session

MLB.com @scottmerkin

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Carlos Rodon threw 40 pitches and got up and down twice during his live batting practice session this past Wednesday.

On Saturday morning, that total increased to 48 pitches, with Rodon getting up down three times. The left-hander felt a distinct difference even in that slight change, as he moves closer to pitching in some sort of game action.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Carlos Rodon threw 40 pitches and got up and down twice during his live batting practice session this past Wednesday.

On Saturday morning, that total increased to 48 pitches, with Rodon getting up down three times. The left-hander felt a distinct difference even in that slight change, as he moves closer to pitching in some sort of game action.

"Today, physically I felt way stronger than three days ago. It's weird. The body is a special thing," Rodon said. "Arm strength, you feel the way the ball is coming out.

"I just show up and they tell me what to do. I'm sure we'll throw in a [simulated] game on the backfield and I like that because I get to work on stuff. Trying to get that pitch count up right now. Get up maybe 55 or 60 next time. Keep on building."

Video: Renteria on Rodon's progress, Quintana in the Classic

Rodon has followed a gradual path toward the regular season, one designed to maximize his potential as a key part of the pitching staff when the games actually count in the standings. Although he probably will break camp as the fifth of five starters, Rodon certainly sits at the top of the rotation with Jose Quintana and would be considered the staff ace if Quintana was traded.

White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said Rodon will have two days off and then throw again on Tuesday. He called Rodon's changeup a plus on Saturday and said the ball was coming out of his hand fine.

Hey hasn't thrown any sliders yet and may not next time, although he might add a couple of cutters.

"He's coming along. He's where he needs to be," Cooper said. "We probably did a little bit more today than I was anticipating. We got him up and down three times. He was able to do it because I saw the freedom with which he was throwing.

"We are going to dream up something to get the work in (Tuesday). I'm not sure what it would be. It might be what we are doing, getting him up three times maybe the fourth time this time.

There's not a need for a certain amount of Cactus League games to throw in for Rodon to be ready. He needs to increase his workload and pitching preparedness.

"Honestly it's get on the mound and be able to throw that fastball away six or seven out of 10 times, fastball in six or seven out of 10 times, changeup, slider," Rodon said. "Everything around 60 or 70 percent and then (snaps finger) … get in a game.

"Then we'll go from there. As long as I can get the work on the side I should be able to go. It's just to build the arm strength back up. I had a slow start, I had to build up to where these guys were at and we're getting there now."

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