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Rodon looking to add versatility to his arsenal 

@scottmerkin
April 10, 2019

CHICAGO -- Carlos Rodon wants to make a change in his gameday repertoire. Not a change exactly, but the southpaw wants to work in his changeup more with his fastball and slider. Per Fangraphs, Rodon threw his changeup a career-high 14 percent of the time in 2018. Through just three

CHICAGO -- Carlos Rodon wants to make a change in his gameday repertoire.

Not a change exactly, but the southpaw wants to work in his changeup more with his fastball and slider. Per Fangraphs, Rodon threw his changeup a career-high 14 percent of the time in 2018.

Through just three starts in ’19, Rodon has thrown the changeup at a 5.1 percent clip.

“The changeup is a good pitch when I’m behind, a pitch that gets early contact, ground balls, something that I think I’ll be featuring more,” said Rodon prior to Wednesday’s series finale with the Rays. “The usage last year was pretty good -- maybe 10 percent or so. Right now, we are not even sniffing that.

“It will help command-wise, it will help fastball command. It’s a plus changeup. I just need to use it more. I think the slider is so good that nothing against my catchers, it’s so good, it’s hard to hit, then why wouldn’t you call it.”

In Monday’s loss to a tough Rays squad, Rodon threw 54 sliders against 52 fastballs and five changeups. Although it’s a great pitch for the 26-year-old, an elite pitch in the game among starters, consistently throwing that many sliders can produce extra arm stress.

“There are days. But recently, not really,” Rodon said. “Recently it feels pretty good. I mean, but in the end, it’s a pitch that you definitely have a lot of stress. There’s got to be a happy medium.

“Right now, I’m 50-50 [with fastball/slider]. As a hitter, think about it? Flip a coin. The odds are easier for them. Mix in a changeup now and then and a lot of things change.”

Banuelos going long

Manny Banuelos threw 61 pitches in relief Saturday and 49 pitches following Ervin Santana on Tuesday. But the left-hander isn’t worried about extended usage after being stretched out during Spring Training as a starter.

“It hasn’t been difficult because after Saturday, my mind was just ready for my next opportunity,” Banuelos said. “I start to do my recovery work on Sunday. It hasn’t been that difficult because I’ve been preparing myself for that.

“I was ready Monday, but they didn’t call on me. They wanted to give me some rest and I took it. But yesterday I was ready since the first inning. Honestly, if I’m in the bullpen, I have to be ready every day. If the team needs me today, I’m going to be ready today. I have to be ready every day.”

Cease opens strong

The Triple-A Charlotte debut for Dylan Cease was a good one Tuesday night, as the right-hander struck out five and didn’t issue a walk over five scoreless innings against Norfolk.

“Obviously he's got really good stuff, but he's another young man that's very mature,” said White Sox manager Rick Renteria, of the No. 21 prospect per MLB Pipeline, scheduled to throw in Indianapolis on Sunday. “He has a real good idea of what he wants to do.”

They said It

“I worry about approaches more than anything. It's not necessarily the outcomes I look at.” -- Renteria, on when slumps run deeper than early-season struggles.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.