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Professional

Rodon finally rearing back

White Sox starter Carlos Rodon (55) is starting to feel like his old self again after undergoing surgery on his left (throwing) shoulder last September. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
White Sox starter Carlos Rodon (55) is starting to feel like his old self again after undergoing surgery on his left (throwing) shoulder last September. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Carlos Rodon has been playing catch most every day during spring training as he recovers from shoulder surgery. On Sunday, he finally decided to let loose.

During a flat-ground session that included throws from 120 feet, the White Sox left-hander reared back and fired his fastball.

“I was throwing pretty close to as hard as I can, and I feel good,” Rodon said Monday. “That’s a good sign. You have to test it every once in a while.”

Rodon underwent surgery on his left shoulder in September and has been taking baby steps in his recovery. Sunday’s session had him as encouraged as he’s been since the rehabilitation process began.

“It’s definitely encouraging,” an upbeat Rodon said. “I’m just waiting to get up on a mound and start throwing bullpens. Hopefully by the end of the month I can do that, if everything goes well.”

Rodon said he has to remind himself to take it easy with his rehab because, “We’re in it for the long haul, not just this year.”

To that end, he did not put a target date on his return to the rotation.

“I definitely try not to, because if I don’t reach it, then it it’s going to be a disappointment,” Rodon said. “I just go day by day and try knock off the days in this throwing program so I can get back on the mound and be with my team again.”

Errors could mean extra work: It should have come as no surprise to White Sox players that they found themselves in extended fielding drills Tuesday morning at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz.

Manager Rick Renteria and his staff have a schedule of fundamentals that the team focuses on during the week, but it can change quickly if a problem area is spotted.

Such a scenario happened Sunday when the Sox worked on calling for pop-ups and fly balls a day after the infield allowed a ball to drop about 4 feet from the pitcher’s mound during a start by right-hander Michael Kopech.

“On any given day, if there is something that goes awry, we will change [the schedule],” Renteria said Monday. “[On Sunday] when we worked on those, it was truly a consequence of the day before. We thought, ‘You know what? Let’s hammer this out. Let’s make sure that we communicate what we need to get this done right.’ Everybody kind of manages it that way – I’m not unique in that regard. If there’s something that needs to be worked on, we try to hammer it as quickly as possible.”

After kicking and throwing the ball all around the infield during the ninth inning of Monday’s 9-9 tie with the Athletics, it was more of the same. The Sox committed two errors in the inning – one each by Ti’Quan Forbes and Tyler Saladino – with two outs, leading to four unearned runs off Ian Clarkin. That allowed the Athletics to roar back from a nine-run deficit and give the Sox their first tie of the Cactus League season.

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