P Carlos Rodon could start as early as 2015


CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox's plan is to ultimately make first-round draft pick Carlos Rodon a major league starter. The only issue is how quickly it will happen.

If Rodon ends up being added to the major league club when rosters expand in September, it would appear to be as a reliever to assist the struggling bullpen.

Moving forward, the left-hander could end up with an opportunity that Chris Sale never got, by opening his second year in the organization in a major league rotation.

"We feel this guy is very close to being able to help us in the rotation. Whether that's the first part of [2015], the second part of '15, or '16, we'll see," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "But this guy is coming, we believe, on a fairly quick path and not necessarily one that would require him to spend time in the bullpen.

"It's possible that, again, if he did come here in September, we'd use him out of the pen just to monitor, get him in and out quickly. But, again, long term, we view this guy as a starter."

Rodon made his Triple-A debut Tuesday night as a starter, but he pitched only three innings, giving up one run. He could end up making two more starts at Charlotte before the calendar flips to September, at which time the White Sox would need to make a decision.

"These notions that I've seen out there that he's going to make three starts at Charlotte then he's coming here, they're going to go to a six-man rotation or they're going to use him out of the bullpen, none of that's been said," Hahn said. "We're going to continue to put challenges in front of this kid. He's responded to each of them so far, and let's see how the next couple go."

After Rodon signed, he made a brief appearance in the Arizona Rookie League before going to Class A Winston Salem, at which he posted a 1.86 ERA in four outings.

"He's coming along quick and he's coming along real well," Hahn said. "Last night was a good outing. We again saw the plus slider, which everyone has seen going back to the college days, as well as the very impressive changeup.

"I saw from his own comments after the game, he had a good feel for where he was in terms of his fastball command not quite being where he needs it to be. But it was his first outing at a high level, and he certainly responded to the challenge."

When Sale was drafted in 2010, he went straight from being a college starter to a relief role, so he has an idea of what Rodon will be going through if he arrives in less than two weeks. Sale pitched the entire 2011 season in relief and was made a starter in 2012.

"The hardest part is the competition and playing every day," Sale said. "I went from pitching once a week in college to being ready to go every single day. In college you play, what, four games a week? You can potentially play in two weeks in a row here sometimes, so that's the biggest adjustment is that every single day there is a game and you have to be prepared regardless of what you did the previous week. Good, bad or indifferent, no matter how many times you had been there, you had to be ready."

If Rodon wants it explained even more thoroughly, Sale is ready.

"Obviously, a few years ago I was in the same position, so any time you go through something, you share what wisdom you have," Sale said. "I'm not going to say I'm going to drop knowledge on him, but, yeah, I'll obviously be there to help in any way I can."