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Rodon’s last Cactus League start ‘a stinker’

Carlos Rodon gave up nine runs on 10 hits and did not finish the fifth inning Saturday.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Left-hander Carlos Rodon had his worst outing in his final Cactus League start, struggling with his slider and allowing nine runs on 10 hits – including three-run homers to Ivan DeJesus Jr. and Adam Duvall — over 4 1/3 innings in the Sox’ 9-7 split-squad loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday. Rodon struck out three and walked two.

Rodon’s focus this spring has been on fastball command and his changeup, and he suggested his vaunted slider wasn’t given much attention, although manager Robin Ventura saw more than poor slider command in what he called “a stinker” of a performance. “It seemed like there were some other [pitches], too, that were troublesome,’’ Ventura said. “He’ll be all right.’’

After not allowing a run in his first two outings, Rodon has given up 13 runs on 17 hits over 7 2/3 innings. Penciled in to pitch the Sox’ third game in Oakland April 6, his next scheduled workday is on Thursday’s off day between the Cactus League finale and a Friday exhibition game in San Diego.

Rodon, who didn’t throw a single slider in his second outing, said he threw 12 or 13 against the Reds.

“I’m going to go work on sliders in the next ‘pen,’’ he said. “Think I only had two for strikes and probably got one guy swinging on one. All the others were in the dirt or just weren’t even around the zone. Didn’t really affect them. They just spit on them and waited for a fastball and laid off the changeup.’’