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White Sox name Rodon as Opening Day starter

@JesseSanchezMLB
March 18, 2019

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Welcome to the club, Carlos Rodón. On Monday, the club announced the left-handed pitcher will start Opening Day on March 28 against the Royals in Kansas City. Reynaldo Lopez, who is also lined up to pitch that day, told MLB.com he will pitch the second game of

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Welcome to the club, Carlos Rodón.

On Monday, the club announced the left-handed pitcher will start Opening Day on March 28 against the Royals in Kansas City. Reynaldo Lopez, who is also lined up to pitch that day, told MLB.com he will pitch the second game of the season Saturday, March 30.

"He's been with us, we know what he's capable of doing,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “The good thing is, we've started the year where he's nice and healthy, we're looking forward to a good season starting off. The way we slotted it, it just ended up being the right person for it."

The White Sox have not announced how they will line up Lopez, Lucas Giolito and Ivan Nova in the rotation behind Rodon. Manny Banuelos and Ervin Santana are competing for the fifth spot.

“I’m the guy that gets to go first. I get the honor of going first,” Rodon said. “It doesn’t mean that I’m better than anyone else. I think everyone else has the potential of being the Opening Day starter, but I was the fortunate one.”

The White Sox have started a left-handed pitcher on Opening Day 16 times since 2000, a list that includes Jose Quintana (2017), Chris Sale (’13, ’14, ’16), John Danks (’12), Mark Buehrle (2002-06, 2008-11), David Wells (2001) and Mike Sirotka (2000).

“I wouldn’t say I compare to Chris Sale and Jose Quintana,” Rodon said. “Me taking the ball on Game 1 doesn’t make me those guys, but, like I said, it’s an honor to take the ball that day. Just ready to compete.”

Right-hander James Shields was the club’s Opening Day starter last season. Fellow righties Jeff Samardzija (2015) and Jose Contreras (2007) also pitched on Opening Day.

Rodon, who is making the first Opening Day start of his career, has made three starts this spring and will make one more before the first game of the regular season. So far, he has allowed seven runs on nine hits in 12 1/3 innings. He has struck out eight.

In his last outing, he allowed one hit through the first two innings against the D-backs, but gave up solo homers in the third and fourth. He also allowed a run in each of the two innings that followed.

It’s been quite a turnaround for the 26-year-old. He had arthroscopic left shoulder surgery in September 2017 and spent last spring working his way back. He went on to post a 4.18 ERA in 20 starts, a span of 120 2/3 innings last season after making his debut June 9. He struck out 90 and walked 55.

"He has been here longer than most of the guys who are here,” Renteria said. “This is a guy that's got some pretty good stuff. He's worked very, very well this spring. [Sunday’s] outing was really good, I thought. Kept us in the ballgame, fatigued a little bit near the end, but all in all, did a really nice job and continues to move forward. Happy, healthy and climbing."

Jesse Sanchez, who has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.