GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Carlos Rodon’s throwing program is expected to begin on Friday after a slight planned delay.
The White Sox have asked their young starting pitcher refrain from throwing activity for each of the first three days in camp in an effort to combat a lengthier spring training schedule. The 2017 spring training calendar includes a handful of extra days so players could prepare for the World Baseball Classic.
Rodon is one of several pitchers the White Sox are measuring out, according to manager Rick Renteria.
Instead of having Rodon throw the entire time in camp, the White Sox asked him to limit his activity early because they need him to carry a heavier workload this season. Rodon went 9-10 with a 4.04 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 165 innings pitched last season.
“Ease him into it a little bit,” pitching coach Don Cooper said. “With the World Classic, we are here (44 days). We’ve got a whole lot of time and we are going to take our time with him.
“He’s throwing tomorrow. Tomorrow his program starts like I said. He’s fine. He’s good. He’s good. He’s good. We are not going to ask somebody to do something if they are not.”
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The White Sox operated the same way with Chris Sale last spring. Cooper held Sale out of exhibition games until mid-March, preferring to have him work in extended bullpen sessions and simulated games. The schedule allowed for more focused work, Cooper said. Sale sang the schedule’s praises throughout the season, saying he felt refreshed.
The White Sox need Rodon to step up in Sale’s absence. The hope is he can provide the team with 180-200 innings pitched. Rodon threw a combined 149 1/3 innings in 2015 and slightly increased that total last season.
While most of his teammates have spent the first three days playing catch, participating in bullpens and taking pitcher’s fielding practice, Rodon’s schedule has been limited. The left-hander has spent the warmup time talking to coaches and hasn’t even thrown the ball to first during PFP’s.
But Cooper, Rodon and Renteria have said all week that the pitcher is healthy and working on an individual schedule.
“There are certain guys we’re going to be measuring in terms of their work and as soon as we get that structured out there in the longer format we’ll get them out there and do what we need them to do,” Renteria said on Tuesday.