White Sox lefty Rodon solid in first start against Angels
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Carlos Rodon finally got on the field Sunday, and the Chicago White Sox left-hander already seems in solid form.
Rodon tossed four scoreless innings in his first Cactus League start, striking out five while the White Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 11-2.
Chicago held Rodon out of its first 21 spring training games, bringing him along slowly to keep him fresh for the long season. The Sox used a similar plan last season with ace Chris Sale, and he pitched a career-high 226 2/3 innings. Sale was traded in the offseason to the Boston Red Sox.
Rodon allowed a hit and walked just one. He said he was getting antsy to appear in a game.
''I've been sitting for a while watching everyone else do something,'' Rodon said. ''It was good to get out there with my teammates again and compete.''
He threw 38 strikes in 65 pitches. After coming out, he threw another 10 pitches in the bullpen.
Albert Pujols knocked a slow roller into right field in the first inning for the only hit off Rodon.
''It was a sinker in,'' Rodon said. ''I told him to save his hits, and he thought so, too.''
He struck out Mike Trout looking before Pujols' single.
''On a slider,'' Rodon said. ''It was supposed to be back foot, but I threw it down the middle. It worked.''
Rodon was pleased with his first outing after being limited to simulated games. He said he is on board with this spring training plan.
''It's nice to get a sense of where I'm at and just be able to compete,'' he said. ''We mixed in a little bit of everything. Mostly fastball and sliders, but we threw some changeups and some cutters. So I've got some stuff to work on.
''The defense picked me up. I attacked the zone and attacked the hitters.''
Rodon, the third overall pick in the 2014 draft out of North Carolina State, went 9-10 with a 4.04 ERA in 28 starts last season. In his final start, he struck out seven Minnesota Twins to begin the game, matching an American League record.
He will probably start again Friday and plans to be ready for the start of the season.
''Just try to build that pitch count up,'' Rodon said. ''Try to get up and down five or six times this next time and throw better changeups.''
Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada was 3 for 5 with a homer, two doubles and four RBIs. Moncada has three home runs and 11 RBIs in his past seven games.