Chicago White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon has known for a few days that he would be sent to the Class AAA Charlotte Knights to start the season, so there was no surprise when the White Sox officially reassigned him to minor-league camp Wednesday, the second-to-last day of spring training.
Rodon, the No. 3 overall draft pick out of N.C. State in 2014, posted a 3.06 ERA with five walks, 21 strikeouts and one home run over 17 2/3 innings pitched this spring. He earned confidence knowing that he had success against big-league hitters, but he also knows the stakes will be higher when he next puts on a White Sox uniform, which general manager Rick Hahn has stated should be in the “not-too-distant future.”
“This is spring training. This isn’t regular season,” Rodon said midway through packing his belongings at the White Sox clubhouse at Camelback Ranch. “So there will still be butterflies when the debut comes, whatever day that is, but it makes it a little easier I guess because I’ve faced big-league hitters before. But it counts a little more when that happens.”
The White Sox had been open with Rodon and the media about wanting their top-ranked prospect to spend time working at the minor-league level as a starter improving his fastball command and changeup before he makes his big-league debut.
Rodon said he benefited from instruction and conversations with other pitchers, such as veteran Brad Penny, while he was in camp.
“Just physically, the things I learned were fastball command,” Rodon said. “I threw a lot of changeups (Tuesday). I figure I can throw it now and sort of rely less on the slider.”
The Knights will play an exhibiton game against Davidson on Monday at BB&T Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m.; gates open at 2 p.m. Admission is free.