Chicago White Sox: Carlos Rodon

Is improved White Sox bullpen enough?

December, 9, 2014
Dec 9
7:09
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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SAN DIEGO -- As one of the busiest teams in the offseason and the champions of the winter meetings so far, the question surrounding the Chicago White Sox now is whether or not their big offseason splashes have been enough.

Specifically, have the additions of left-hander Zach Duke and pending acquisition of right-hander David Robertson, made the White Sox a better-than-average bullpen?

Two pitchers do not a bullpen make, but the Kansas City Royals did some pretty serious damage to American League foes with setup man Wade Davis and closer Greg Holland.

Matching Davis and Holland will be a tall order for Duke and Robertson, so the early reviews are that the White Sox are going to have to add even more just to be considered the best bullpen in the American League Central.

"Well, you continue to try to improve; I think that's the biggest thing about being here," manager Robin Ventura said. "And you're able to talk with different teams and see what they're trying to do. But you are improving to a point, and you see what's there, what Detroit's done the last few years, and Kansas City going to the World Series, Cleveland's been a good club for the last couple of years. You're either going to try to improve or you're not. I think we're improving to be in that discussion."

General manager Rick Hahn, while saying his spending wiggle room is starting to get a "little tight," has promised to do even more this winter, although he might or might not have been talking about the bullpen in particular.

"Even putting aside what we hope to announce later in the week [Robertson's signing], we still have other areas we need to improve, and we're hopeful that, over the coming days -- and if not the coming days, over the coming weeks -- we'll be able to fill a couple more voids on our roster," Hahn said. "As soon as we're done doing this [news conference] we'll be back upstairs and talking about some alternatives."

Considering that injuries and poor performance put the White Sox's bullpen among the worst in baseball last year, Hahn has to be considering more relief help. But a better rotation, thanks to Samardzija's presence, would help take some of the weight off the relievers.

How much can the club's internal options make a difference? Last year's first-round pick, Carlos Rodon, would be a logical left-handed complement to Duke, but the White Sox haven't committed to that plan yet.

"We view Carlos long term as a part of the rotation," Hahn said Tuesday. "When that date arrives it's not clear just yet. It's possible he comes along through the bullpen as we did with [Mark] Buehrle and [Jon] Garland and Chris Sale. Or it's possible he's just in the minors making starts and comes up once he's truly ready. Long term he's in the rotation. How he gets there is still to be determined."

Other White Sox relief options include Jake Petricka, Zach Putnam, Daniel Webb, Javy Guerra and Maikel Cleto. Nate Jones isn't expected to return from Tommy John surgery until July.

Managing his bullpen was clearly Ventura's toughest responsibility this past season, and he said the club's new additions, including Robertson, make everybody better. It can't get any worse for the bullpen.

"Yeah, it's usually the hardest thing, anyway," Ventura said. "I think with the amount of youth that we had out there, and guys trying to be put in different positions, in different roles and things that they weren't necessarily comfortable with at first, everybody tried it. We tried plenty of guys in different spots.

"It's just a tough [situation]. It's a tough thing to do, especially with guys that are young, and I think when they fail it's different when a veteran fails. They can bounce back easier."

At the very least, the White Sox have some of those veterans now who can rebound quickly when things don't go as planned. The question remains: Do they have enough of those guys?

Sox's optimism up as meetings near

December, 5, 2014
Dec 5
4:33
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- With two roster moves already finalized and a bevy of groundwork conversations complete on potential trades and free-agent acquisitions, the Chicago White Sox appear headed to the annual winter meetings next week ready to do business.

General manager Rick Hahn said Friday that it is not a priority that the club makes moves at the yearly gathering of baseball executives, but this is where the White Sox made the move to acquire center fielder Adam Eaton last year, and all around baseball activity is picking up in earnest.

“There’s been a fairly steady level of dialogue probably going back to the GM meetings (in November) and soon thereafter,” Hahn said, not long after the New York Yankees acquired shortstop Didi Gregorius from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-way deal that also involved the Detroit Tigers.

“I think you’re starting to see a few deals around the league, whether it’s via trade or free agency, starting to come to a head here. Whether that means there’s going to be more activity over the next few days or next week or next few weeks, it’s certainly understandable as things are starting to get moving. 'Tis the season.”

The White Sox head into the meetings at San Diego with a bevy of needs, the most glaring being additions for a bullpen that was among the worst in baseball last season.

“I'm not going to rate the positions of need simply because there isn't a strategic advantage for us relaying public what our targets may be,” Hahn said. “We've made no secret about our desire to become younger and more athletic. Including (Carlos) Rodon in the future, we have a fairly left-handed leaning rotation. We've made no secret that our bullpen needs to improve. (New addition) Zach Duke is a nice step in that direction but we're not finished addressing 2015 improvements either.”

(Read full post)

Rodon top Sox prospect in Baseball America rankings

November, 10, 2014
Nov 10
3:43
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Baseball America released its top prospect list for the Chicago White Sox and left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodon is the leader of the pack.

Rodon, the club’s first-round draft pick and No. 3 selection overall this past June, was considered for a major league promotion in September, but the White Sox elected to wait on bringing the North Carolina State product to the highest level.

The 21-year-old is expected to be in major league camp this spring where he figures to compete for a roster spot. In the long run, Rodon is being aimed for the starting rotation but there remains a possibility that he starts the season as a reliever to help a rebuilding bullpen.

Rounding out the top five on the Baseball America list is No. 2 selection Tim Anderson, shortstop, No. 3 Spencer Adams, right-handed pitcher, No. 4. Micah Johnson, second base and No. 5 Francellis Montas, right-handed pitcher.

Anderson impressed in the Arizona Fall League, posting a .313 batting average and a .353 on-base percentage in 20 games. That came after he batted a combined .301 with a .327 on-base percentage at three separate minor league levels, advancing as high as Double-A Birmingham.

The former first-round pick in 2013 could be poised to take over full time at shortstop after Alexei Ramirez’s contract is completed in 2016, if a team option is exercised.

Completing Baseball American’s top 10 is No. 6 selection Micker Adolfo, outfield, No. 7 Tyler Danish, right-handed pitcher, No. 8 Trey Michalczewski, No. 9 Courtney Hawkins, outfield and No. 10 Rangel Ravelo, first base.

Of all the players listed, Rodon and Johnson have the best chance of landing on the Opening Day roster in April.

Rodon gives White Sox options in 2015

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
1:10
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Unlike last year, the Chicago White Sox seem open to heading into a new season with four left-handed starters.

General manager Rick Hahn confirmed that while not the ideal scenario, the team is open to having prospect Carlos Rodon compete for a rotation spot in the spring to join a starting staff that already includes lefties Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and John Danks.

[+] EnlargeCarlos Rodon
Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images/AP ImagesWhite Sox general manager Rick Hahn isn't concerned that adding Carlos Rodon would give them four lefties in the rotation in 2015.
A year ago, the White Sox took a different route, breaking up a potential lefty foursome by including Hector Santiago in a three-team trade that landed leadoff man Adam Eaton. So far, that trade couldn't have worked out better for the White Sox.

The team's willingness to go the four-lefty route this time has more to do with the ability of Rodon, the No. 3 overall selection in this past summer's first-year player draft and widely regarded to be the player who would most likely reach the major leagues the fastest.

In fact, the White Sox considered adding Rodon to the major league club when rosters expanded in September. But after advancing the North Carolina State product to the Triple-A level, the White Sox felt it would be best to have the 21-year old call it a season. He turns 22 on Dec. 10.

"He's had, obviously, a busy professional season and professional debut, where we had him at numerous stops, so right now he's just resting," Hahn said. "In the not-too-distant future he's going to connect with (pitching coach) Don Cooper, and (minor-league pitching coordinator) Curt Hassler and some of our pitching coaches and come up with a specific program of what we'd like to see him work on this offseason.

"So, it was a tremendous debut for this kid. I think he's going to be an important part of what we've got going on here for the next several years."

It isn't out of the question that Rodon could return to the minor leagues or open next season in the White Sox's bullpen, but he will be pointed toward the starting rotation first, even if it means lefty overload.

"I'm more hung up on taking the five best guys that give you a chance to win on any given day," Hahn said. "Certainly, if we had four righties and one lefty, no one would say, 'You've got too many righties.' Perhaps you want a little more balance, but nobody goes out of his way to get rid of a quality righty to bring in a less or inferior option just because he throws from the left side. We're not going to do that from the left side given our situation.

"Is it ideally how you would draw it up? No. But at the same time, if Carlos is capable of filling his potential ..."

For now, the options with Rodon are wide open.

"It's conceivable he could be a member of the bullpen in 2015 at some point," Hahn said. "I do believe, much like when we had Chris Sale in a similar situation, that his long-term future is at the front end of a rotation, but we are not necessarily committed that it has to be on Day 1 as part of a rotation in order to get to that spot."

White Sox set to undergo more rebuilding

September, 28, 2014
Sep 28
5:42
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Headed in a positive direction now, the Chicago White Sox still finished with a losing record in 2014, and the bar is set extremely high for general manager Rick Hahn as the offseason begins.

The additions of Jose Abreu and Adam Eaton last winter have the offense in better shape than it was a year ago. But those additions also are a tough act to follow for Hahn, as the fan base yearns for more improvement and a better 2015.

Is Hahn challenging himself to match and possibly exceed last year’s roster maneuvering?

[+] EnlargeJose Abreu
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhThe addition of Jose Abreu was huge for the offense this season, but what do the White Sox have in store for next season?
“Absolutely, and there’s sort of, I suppose, two categories of moves: Some that are sort of more short-term fixes that are going to improve the club and slightly move the chains, and then there’s sort of the longer-term fits, such as Abreu or (Avisail Garcia) or Eaton or some of the other guys that we feel we have coming,” Hahn said.

“The addition of (left-handed pitcher) Carlos Rodon in the last draft is another example, and we’re never going to move our eye from those long-term targets being a priority. At the same time, we may be in a position where some shorter-term deals with some veteran-type players might make some sense in order to get this team closer to where we want to be.”

While making some long-term roster additions in order to get better for the long run, the White Sox also have been creating financial flexibility. Payroll was down some $30 million from last year, and with big-money players like Jake Peavy, Alex Rios, Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko all gone now, Hahn said he expects to have some freedom to spend a little more to shore up roster spots.

“The flexibility helps a lot,” Hahn said. “Having some important players signed long term, you have that cost certainty about what your obligations are going to be going forward, and we’re in a position now where we’ve managed to create some economic flexibility going into the offseason. We can deploy that via free agency or via trade and really not be precluded from any opportunities right now due to economic reasons.”

The White Sox still might not be ready to push past the $110 million mark in player salaries, but overall talent still could be younger and better than it has been the past two seasons. Just don’t expect the White Sox to spend like the deep-pocket Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

“Our intent is to convert on the No.1 target at every spot and address every need with the ideal fit,” Hahn said. “Realistically there are 29 other clubs, some of which have similar needs to ours and similar resources, whether it be from a player to trade standpoint or an economic standpoint. So, we’re realistic and know that we’re not going to be able to necessarily convert on every top guy.

“At the same time, our scouts and our analytics people are fairly well versed and skilled at being able to target, perhaps, I don’t want to say second-tier, but perhaps less notable targets who have been able to develop into integral parts of championship clubs here. So, the list is long. It continues to be vetted. It’ll continue to be vetted over the next few weeks.”

Yet for all the positives, there is no getting around the fact that the White Sox finished with just 73 victories this season, a mark that was 15 games under .500. That is not a positive no matter how many long-term impact players have been added since the July 2013 trade deadline.

“If you're asking me for a pass-fail grade on the 2014 season, it's a failure,” Hahn said. “The goal is to win a championship. The goal is always to win a championship, and we're not going to do that.”

That’s the black-and-white summary of the season. The gray area offers intrigue.

“'From the standpoint of putting ourselves in position to win multiple championships, there are some successes that we can feel happy about,” Hahn said. “Obviously, last offseason we were able to acquire the rookie of the year (Abreu). It would be nice to do that again this offseason and continue that process.

“Adam Eaton is going to be the mainstay at the top of our order for a long time. Obviously, Chris Sale took another step forward, as did Jose Quintana. Avi Garcia has shown flashes. It would have been nice if he had been healthy the whole year to continue that development, but at the same time, he continues to be a very integral part of our plan going forward.”

As for there the fixes that need to be made, a right-handed starter is a priority and a decision on a left fielder will be key. But one other area will have much of the emphasis.

“When you look at our bullpen, you wish that was better,” manager Robin Ventura said. “You don’t know if it’s going to be guys that are improving or different people. That’s just the way the game goes. You look at what you’re weak at and try to figure out a way to improve it. There are quite a few things.

“When you end up 15 games back in your division, you look back at a lot of games you lost; see how you lost them, why you lost them. I think defensively for us, there’s ways to improve. Offensively there’s ways to improve. There are a lot of different things to it. We’ll definitely go over that. We’ve been going over that as we move along and kind of start focusing on what we want to see this offseason.”

While questions have been raised this season about Ventura’s job stability, Hahn said he has no issues with his manager moving through the current roster rebuild.

“Robin continues to do an excellent job at the helm of the club,” Hahn said. “Obviously, when you evaluate managers, you have to take into account the personnel that they're given. I don't think it's fair to expect them to have every player on the roster consistently overachieve or achieve at perhaps a level beyond the player's capabilities.

“So we judge it from the prism of what was he given and what did he get out of them. His communication continues to be outstanding, his ability to keep all the players involved, and keeps them on point to prioritize the things that we feel are important and respond to inevitable challenges.”

Quintana relishes role in dynamic duo

September, 13, 2014
Sep 13
7:37
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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Jose QuintanaDavid Banks/Getty ImagesLefty Jose Quintana improved to 8-10 with a 3.30 ERA in Saturday's victory.

CHICAGO -- It would not be the way organizations draw it up, but Chris Sale and Jose Quintana are growing into a dominating 1-2 combination at the top of the Chicago White Sox's pitching rotation despite both being left-handed.

It’s right-handers who dominate the pitching landscape, and the left-handers who are at the top of their rotations usually have a right-handed partner in crime. There are exceptions to every rule, of course, and the Sale-Quintana duo hopes to be a primary example.

Quintana showed just how dominating he can be in the opening game of Saturday’s doubleheader when he struck out 13 Minnesota Twins -- six consecutive at one point -- in a 5-1 White Sox victory. He improved to 8-10, which isn’t as representative of how well his season has gone as his 3.30 ERA is.

“Yeah, I try to finish strong,” Quintana said. “I think that’s really important for me and for the team. You know I try to help the team get wins the last couple starts and I want to get more.”

As much as the White Sox value Quintana, there is a thought that they could explore offseason trades, dangling the southpaw in hopes of a massive haul in return. It’s not that they wouldn’t want Quintana around, but with the left-handed Sale at the top of the order, the left-handed John Danks signed to a contract that is difficult to move, and left-handed prospect Carlos Rodon on the rise, there is far too much weight on the port side.

Don’t count manager Robin Ventura as part of the contingent that would endorse the idea of a Quintana deal.

“You want quality more than just it has to be left-handed or right-handed, and Q is as quality as it gets,” Ventura said of the 25-year-old. “You're happy for him to be finishing this way, toward the end of the year and still be strong and go out there and throw a game like this.”

Quintana’s bad luck in the won-loss department is legendary at this point. His 39 no-decisions since he broke into the big leagues in 2012 are the most in baseball and his 17 no-decisions last season were an American League record.

Starts such as Saturday's, though, make him less dependent on what run support his team can provide. Sale has learned to dominate with sometimes-paltry run support, and Quintana often gains inspiration from his teammate.

“When I see Chris Sale throw, I’m so excited,’ Quintana said. “I’m just excited because he’s the best in the American League. I try to follow him with a good performance every time.”

Quintana’s five-year, $21 million deal is as team-friendly as it gets for a rock-solid No. 2 starter. Only if two team options are activated, the first in 2019, will he be able to make as much as $10 million in a season. That's one of the bigger reasons why the White Sox would be willing to take a chance in seasons to come with so many lefties.

Quintana is up for the challenge.

“I want to continue to get better, more year by year,” Quintana said. “But I try to continue my work in the second spot in the rotation. I’ll help the team, and next year it will be better for us.”

White Sox call up 7, but not Carlos Rodon

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
3:50
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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Despite signs that he might be arriving to the major leagues for the final month of the season, the Chicago White Sox did not include left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodon among the seven players they added to the roster Tuesday.

The White Sox took advantage of expanded rosters by calling up right-handed pitchers Chris Bassitt and Scott Carroll, outfielder Jordan Danks, catcher Josh Phegley, infielder Marcus Semien and left-hander Eric Surkamp, all from Triple-A Charlotte.

In addition, the White Sox also purchased the contract of outfielder Michael Taylor, who was acquired from the Oakland Athletics on June 14 in exchange for right-hander Jacob Sanchez. Taylor, a Stanford product, has 26 games of major league experience from 2011-13 with the A's, and hit 11 home runs with 69 RBIs and 75 runs scored at the Triple-A level this season.

Taylor got the call over former first-round pick Jared Mitchell, who had been demoted to Double-A Birmingham at one point this season, but returned to Charlotte where he had been hitting well.

Rodon was the White Sox's first-round draft pick in this past June's draft and looked destined for the major leagues when he was fast-tracked from Single-A Winston-Salem to Charlotte last month. White Sox pitcher Chris Sale took a similar path from draft pick to the major leagues in 2010.

The White Sox's active roster is now at 32, with the 40-man roster now full.

Sox outright Molina; Rodon coming?

August, 31, 2014
Aug 31
2:19
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox might just have created the room they need to get first-round pick Carlos Rodon on the 40-man roster and into the big leagues this week.

The White Sox announced Sunday that they have outrighted minor-league pitcher Nestor Molina to Double-A Birmingham, putting their 40-man at 39 players. All players called up to the major leagues in September when rosters expand must be on the 40-man roster.

Rodon was the No. 3 overall selection in this past June’s draft and the first player in the draft class to advance to the Triple-A level. In three starts at Triple-A Charlotte, the left-hander has given up four runs on nine hits over 12 innings, good for a 3.00 ERA.

His most recent start came Saturday so he wouldn’t be available to pitch again for a few days if he was called up. It is suspected that the White Sox would use Rodon in relief if he has called up, but they have not confirmed that plan.

Although it obviously would be a fast trip through the minor leagues for Rodon, Chris Sale was also fast-tracked through the system. He was drafted in 2010 and was a member of the White Sox’s bullpen later that year, making 21 appearances.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has already said that long term, Rodon projects as a starter.

Predicting the Sox's expanded roster

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
2:32
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox have not confirmed what players will be called up when rosters expand next week, but at least three have been mentioned in one form or another.

General manager Rick Hahn said earlier this month that the team’s typical number of five to eight players called up would be applicable.

It is also possible that the players could arrive in waves since Triple-A Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham both finish their seasons on the first day of September. Neither team is headed to the postseason.

Here are the call-up predictions:

DEFINITE
INF Marcus Semien, RHP Chris Bassitt, RHP Scott Carroll
When Gordon Beckham was traded to the Los Angeles Angels on Aug. 21, general manager Rick Hahn said Semien would get the call in September. When Chris Bassitt got the call to pitch in Saturday’s doubleheader, manager Robin Ventura said the righty would come off the roster after the twinbill, but go right back on it when it is expanded. Carroll wasn’t originally projected here, but after getting sent down to allow the White Sox to add a reliever in Eric Surkamp, Ventura said he would be back and likely stay in the rotation.

PROBABLE
C Josh Phegley, 1B/DH Andy Wilkins
Teams almost always add a catcher when rosters are expanded, but Phegley is deserving here even if that wasn’t the case with 23 home runs, 75 RBIs and a .535 slugging percentage at Charlotte. Making this a no-brainer is that he is also on the 40-man roster. Wilkins’ addition is a little more complicated since the White Sox need to find a 40-man spot for him. Even with the White Sox’s crowded 1B/DH landscape, Wilkins is deserving with 30 home runs, 85 RBIs and a .558 slugging percentage at Charlotte.

LIKELY
LHP Carlos Rodon, OF Jared Mitchell
Another player who needs a 40-man spot to open, the White Sox have made it clear that they would like to see Rodon in the major leagues, even though he was only drafted this June. The No. 3 overall selection was moved quickly through the system from the Arizona Rookie League to Single-A and now Triple-A. If the White Sox weren’t thinking about bringing him up, they could have just let him get in his innings and experience at Single-A until the season ended. Mitchell has largely been an underachiever in the minor leagues, but he has been hitting the ball well of late at Charlotte and he is on the 40-man. It’s time to see what he can do at the level, even if it’s only for a month.

PROBABLY NOT
3B Matt Davidson, RHP Andre Rienzo
When the season started, it figured that if Davidson wasn’t up already then September would be his time. It no longer seems that way as he hit 20 home runs with 55 RBIs at Charlotte, but has struggled to the tune of a .201 batting average and .368 slugging percentage, not to mention 160 strikeouts compared to 94 hits in 467 at-bats. Rienzo has major league experience, but the combined nine earned runs he gave up in his last three innings of relief with the White Sox in August will weigh large in this decision.

Rodon not being considered for DH start

August, 26, 2014
Aug 26
6:30
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO – Any thought that first-round pick Carlos Rodon would start one of the games in Saturday’s doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers was squashed by general manager Rick Hahn.

Asked point blank if Rodon is under consideration for a Saturday start, Hahn closed his eyes, smiled and let out an exasperated chuckle.

“He’s thrown like 20 innings as a pro; let the kid go,” Hahn said. “I understand the thought behind the question, but we simply can’t lose sight of the fact that he is in the infancy of his professional career and what he is doing right now, while impressive, is part of his development.

“Any decision about his future, where his next start will or won’t be, is based strictly on the long-term view of getting him to Chicago ultimately to stay and contribute at the front end of our rotation for a long time. We aren’t going to rush that process.”

The 21-year-old Rodon has made two abbreviated starts for Triple-A Charlotte over the past week and combined to give up two runs on two hits over seven innings. He continues to build up his pitch count after a long layoff between the end of his college season at North Carolina State and the start of his pro career in late July.

Rumors have run rampant that despite Hahn’s desire to take a more deliberate path with Rodon, the left-hander still will be up with the White Sox when rosters expand Sept. 1, two days after this weekend's doubleheader. Combine that concept with the fact that Rodon’s next scheduled turn in Charlotte’s rotation is Saturday, the idea that he could start this weekend isn’t completely out of nowhere.

As for whether or not Rodon actually will be a member of the White Sox at the end of the current homestand, Hahn wasn’t about to reveal anything.

“I think he’s extremely well-grounded,” Hahn said. “I think he knows his next start is coming for Charlotte and then we will have a conversation after that. He’s not looking past what is immediately ahead of him. It’s important that we don’t lose track of the fact that this kid has thrown about 22 or so innings as a professional.

“He’s already made three stops with our affiliates within a month of being a pro. Although he is having success, he has moved very quickly. That makes his success even more impressive. It has been a very fine year for him.”

Charlotte’s final game of the season in Sept. 1.

Series preview: Indians at White Sox

August, 26, 2014
Aug 26
3:01
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Seven more days remain before the Chicago White Sox will get some reinforcements in the form of September call-ups from the minor leagues.

General manager Rick Hahn has already suggested that the White Sox will call up five to eight players, with that set to happen after the current homestand is completed. That homestand begins Tuesday night with a three-game set against the Cleveland Indians, followed by a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers that includes a day/night doubleheader Saturday.

The dog days of August certainly seem to have taken their toll on the White Sox, who are fading fast. They are just 6-15 in August, after going 14-12 in July and will enter Tuesday night's game a season-high 12 games under .500 at 59-71.

Where the White Sox need the most help is in the bullpen. They are 13th in the 15-team American League in bullpen ERA at 4.41, 14th in save percentage at 60 percent and last in strikeouts from their relievers at 297.

The bullpen is operating without a left-hander, although that could change if they add Carlos Rodon to the mix next month. The team's first-round draft pick this June already has delivered two impressive outings at Triple-A Charlotte over the past week.

The expected number of reinforcements might be one player less since infielder Carlos Sanchez has already arrived, joining the team after Gordon Beckham was traded to the Los Angeles Angels last week. And Hahn already has said that infielder Marcus Semien will join the team on or after Sept. 1.

One year after being completely dominated by the Indians, when the White Sox went 2-17, they are a much-improved 8-5 against their division rivals, although each team has scored 58 runs in the season series.

HEAD TO HEAD



Indians rookie starter T.J. House faced the White Sox in his third career outing in May, giving up one run on five hits over 6 1/3 innings of a game the White Sox eventually won. ... The White Sox's Jose Abreu is 3-for-9 against Indians starter Corey Kluber this season with a home run. ... The White Sox's Alejandro De Aza is 5-for-10 (.500) with two doubles and four RBIs against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco. ... The Indians' Michael Brantley is 7-for-15 (.467) with two doubles, a home run and four RBIs against White Sox starter Jose Quintana. ... The Indians' Jason Kipnis is 0-for-10 with two strikeouts against White Sox starter Hector Noesi. ... The Indians' Ryan Raburn is 14-for-42 with five doubles, three home runs and 11 RBIs against White Sox starter John Danks.

NOTES


Adam Eaton, who has been out since Aug. 9 with a strained right oblique, has been reinstated to the active roster. ... The White Sox are on a season-long six-game losing streak and they have also lost 13 of their last 17. ... Abreu has hit safely in nine of his last games and is batting .395 (15-for-38) over that stretch with two home runs and eight RBIs. ... De Aza is batting .354 (23-for-65) with six doubled and two RBIs over his last 18 games, hitting safely in 15 of them with seven multi-hit contests in that stretch. ... De Aza needs one hit for 500 in his career. ... Adam Dunn needs three home runs to tie Jose Canseco (462) for 34th on the all-time list, and needs two walks to tie Ken Griffey Jr. (1,312) for 41st on the all-time list. ... Paul Konerko needs one home run to tie Jason Giambi (44) for 41st on the all-time list. ... The Indians' Brantley is batting .100 (3-for-30) over his last eight games.

PITCHING MATCHUPS


Tuesday: White Sox LH Jose Quintana (6-10, 3.25 ERA) vs. Indians LH T.J. House (2-3, 3.80), 7:10 p.m. CST
Wednesday: White Sox RH Hector Noesi (7-8, 4.39) vs. Indians RH Corey Kluber (13-7, 2.46), 7:10 p.m. CST
Thursday: White Sox LH John Danks (9-8, 4.96) vs. Indians RH Carlos Carrasco (5-4, 3.14), 7:10 p.m. CST

Sale, Rodon: Similar but different

August, 25, 2014
Aug 25
5:28
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Despite their similarities, Chris Sale and Carlos Rodon figure to be different enough to form a formidable 1-2 punch at the head of the Chicago White Sox's rotation one day.

Rodon and Sale are both talented left-handed pitchers who were high draft picks and look to be on a similar route from college starter to a major league roster in the same year. Both compliment a plus fastball with an impressive slider.

The White Sox haven’t announced what is next for Rodon, who has made two starts at Triple-A Charlotte this month. It is suspected, though, that the 21-year-old will be called up to the major leagues when rosters expand in September.

Rodon’s first taste of the major leagues could be out of the bullpen, just as it was for Sale, but he could be in the club’s rotation as early as next season. If Sale and Rodon end up pitching back-to-back in the rotation one day soon, their differences could prove to be an advantage.

As White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton observed this past weekend while on an injury rehab assignment at Charlotte, these aren’t copy-cat sliders.

“It’s good,” Eaton said about Rodon’s slider. “It’s short but it’s very late (breaking). It’s definitely not a Chris Sale slider that will break two feet, a foot and a half. A Rodon slider is kind of short has kind of the same type of arm action as a (fastball). Both are very effective, but definitely different-looking.”

Rodon’s first two Triple-A outings have been impressive. He gave up one run on one hit over four innings Sunday against Norfolk, while striking out eight. Last week against Gwinnett, he gave up one run on one hit over three innings while striking out three.

The White Sox continue to build Rodon’s pitch count (he threw 73 pitches Sunday), all while declining to outline the plans they have for him in the near future. General manager Rick Hahn won’t say if Rodon is coming up to the major leagues in another week, although he did seem to suggest that if he did, he would be a reliever.

Rodon said he doesn’t know the plan, when asked about it by reporters in Charlotte on Sunday.

“I have no idea,” he said. “I assume probably (pitching for Charlotte) Saturday.”

Beyond that, only the front office seems to know for sure.

Despite his impressive results during his short time in the White Sox’s organization, Rodon sounded like a guy who is still looking to refine some things.

“I felt good, better command, struggled a little bit but made an adjustment and it ended up working well,” he said after Sunday’s start. “(The slider) wasn’t bad. A lot of them were for strikes and I need to work on getting it down to be somewhat of a chase pitch.”

P Carlos Rodon could start as early as 2015

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
7:55
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
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.

[+] EnlargeCarlos Rodon
Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images/AP Images"We feel this guy is very close to being able to help us in the rotation," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said of Carlos Rodon.
"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."

Micah Johnson out as Sox consider call-ups

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
7:01
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Scratch Chicago White Sox second base prospect Micah Johnson from the list of potential September roster additions.

Johnson, one of the top position player prospects in the system, will be shut down for the season with a strained left hamstring. He was batting a combined .294 between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte this season and had been struggling through leg pain of late.

[+] EnlargeMicah Johnson
Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images/AP ImagesMicah Johnson, one of the Sox's top position player prospects, will be shut down for the season with a strained left hamstring.
“The other day during an at-bat, he actually felt something in the front by the knee, which led to him being pulled out of the game and being brought to Chicago for evaluation,” White Sox GM Rick Hahn said. “It turned out that even though the pain was from the front of the leg, it was actually related to the same hamstring strain. So we’ve elected to shut him down. We’re going to give the strain four to six weeks to heal, and we expect he should be 100 percent and go into next season without restriction.”

So who will the White Sox call up?

The team needs pitching help, especially in the bullpen, but the system is thin on major league-ready arms. First-round draft pick Carlos Rodon remains a strong possibility to see time in a White Sox uniform next month, possibly as a reliever.

Rodon made his Triple-A debut Tuesday night, and the left-hander gave up one run over three innings for Charlotte.

“There has been a lot of speculation about our plans for him in September,” Hahn said. “There is nothing set in stone in terms of him coming here or not coming here. The decision is going to be made strictly based upon his development and his long-term fit for us. If we feel that he has the ability to come up here and compete, excel and learn from the experience, then it’s something we need to talk about internally and make a decision.”

Two likely roster additions will be infielder Marcus Semien and catcher Josh Phegley, who are both on the 40-man roster. Infielder Carlos Sanchez also could be recalled, and Hahn even talked about the possibility that outfielder Jared Mitchell comes up. Mitchell’s minor league career has been marked with ups and downs, but he is currently hitting the ball well in Charlotte.

Another intriguing roster addition would be first baseman Andy Wilkins, who is putting on a power display at Charlotte with 29 home runs, 35 RBIs and 82 RBIs, while slugging .568. The problem with calling up Wilkins is that the White Sox would first need to add him to the 40-man roster.

While the club already has had internal talks about who to add to the roster, Hahn said nothing has been finalized.

“I don’t have an answer on that yet,” he said. “It’s going to be more than a couple. Historically, we’ve been in the five-to-eight range, and we’ll probably be back in that range this year.”

One delicate issue with the extra bodies is that regulars will start losing playing time. Semien could be starting over Gordon Beckham at second base, and Phegley could be cutting into Tyler Flowers’ playing time behind the plate.

“I'm going to talk to [Hahn] about it,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “When you get closer to September, if guys are going to get called up and it's going to affect them, then you start talking to them about it. I don't think we’re there right now.”

Rodon goes 3 in Triple-A debut

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
7:50
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Top draft pick Carlos Rodon made quick work of his Triple-A debut Tuesday, giving up one run over three innings for the Charlotte Knights.

The White Sox weren't looking for any more than 60 pitches from the left-hander and were satisfied with his 55-pitch night. He gave up his one earned run and one hit, with three walks and three strikeouts against the Gwinnett Braves.

Rodon was the No. 3 overall selection, and is the first player from this June's draft to reach the Triple-A level this season. There remains a strong possibility the 21-year old will find his way to the major leagues when rosters expand in September.

Before being promoted to Charlotte, Rodon had a 1.96 ERA with 15 strikeouts in four outings (two starts) at Single-A Winston Salem. He also appeared briefly in the Arizona Rookie League after agreeing to a $6.582 million signing bonus.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jose Abreu
BA HR RBI R
.317 36 107 80
OTHER LEADERS
HRJ. Abreu 36
RBIJ. Abreu 107
RA. Ramirez 82
OPSJ. Abreu .964
WC. Sale 12
ERAC. Sale 2.17
SOC. Sale 208