GLENDALE, Ariz. — Prized pitching prospect Carlos Rodon will start Friday in the White Sox’ third Cactus League game, replacing injured Chris Sale against the Padres in Peoria.
Sale suffered an avulsion fracture in his right foot Friday in an accident at his home and will miss at least three weeks. Manager Robin Ventura said Sunday that Sale is unlikely to pitch on Opening Day.
Rodon, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, took the news that he will pitch Friday in stride.
“That’s cool,’’ Rodon said. “Same mindset. Just like any other game, it’s baseball. That’s the way I look at it. It should be fun. I’ll get to work on stuff in the Cactus League against better hitters. It will be fun to see how I do against them.”
Pitching coach Don Cooper is viewing Sale’s setback as an opportunity for others such as Rodon. But it doesn’t mean his chances of making the Opening Day roster are any better, Ventura said.
“Carlos Rodon, who did not have a regular spring-training start scheduled, other than maybe a B game or a split-squad, really wasn’t scheduled as of yet,’’ Cooper said. “Now the door is open for him to start and show everybody what he can do.
“It’s also going to open up more opportunities for [Scott] Carroll and [Frankie] Montas and Chris Beck and Brad Penny.”
Jeff Samardzija, acquired in a trade with the Athletics in December, has pitched the last two Opening Days for the Cubs. Ventura wouldn’t commit to moving him into that slot, but Samardzija will take it if asked.
“Yeah, I’m gonna be ready to pitch,’’ Samardzija said.
“Nothing changes. Be ready to go. It doesn’t matter what game. As long as you hand me the ball, I’ll be willing to take it and just do my best.’’
Rodon, whose slider is ready for prime time, continues to work on his fastball command and a changeup that is better than advertised at draft time.
“It’s been going pretty good,” he said of camp. “Fastball command has been better, and I’m still working on that changeup.’’