Opening Day start must be earned, White Sox’ Carlos Rodon says

SHARE Opening Day start must be earned, White Sox’ Carlos Rodon says

Carlos Rodon throws during a spring training workout Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — March 28 is five weeks away, so no one in White Sox camp expects manager Rick Renteria to name an Opening Day starter soon. Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez and Ivan Nova — who started the opener for the Pirates last season — rate as candidates, although most indications are Rodon is the leader in the clubhouse.

Renteria, as usual, is keeping it close to the vest and will for a while.

‘‘I’m not sure,’’ he said. ‘‘We’ll continue to see how their schedule works out, how they line up. I don’t have one right now.’’

The Cactus League opens Saturday, and Renteria will start two lesser names — right-hander Donn Roach and left-hander Jordan Guerrero — in the Sox’ split-squad games. Roach surmised his name was ‘‘chosen out of a hat.’’

The Opening Day question is one Renteria will hear intermittently, then more often as the Sox get deeper into March. Rodon would like to be the answer.

‘‘To be the No. 1 guy at the top of the rotation at the beginning of the year, it’s kind of a friendly competition between all of us,’’ Rodon said Thursday. ‘‘It’s something you have to earn.’’

Rodon had arthroscopic surgery on his left (pitching) shoulder in September 2017, then went 6-8 with a 4.18 ERA in 120 innings last season. He pitched like an ace during June and July but faltered mightily in September. So while he wants the nod, he’s not ready to declare himself worthy of the honor.

‘‘To my standards, I haven’t earned that yet,’’ Rodon said. ‘‘It’s something I’ll have to prove in spring training.’’


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The good news is that this spring is different from past springs because of how he feels.

‘‘I feel good; I feel healthy,’’ Rodon said. ‘‘I don’t feel anything in my arm. Before, I did.’’

That is evident to Renteria.

‘‘He’s looking good,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘He’s staying nice and loose. We’re really happy. He’s coming into the season healthy. We can see the difference in his arm action and the fluidity of it.’’

Vizquel eyes job in majors

Class AA Birmingham manager Omar Vizquel, who had a Hall of Fame-caliber career as a major-leaguer, is moving along toward his goal of managing in the majors. It’s clearly what he wants to do.

‘‘I’m here to prepare, maybe in the future, to be a manager,’’ Vizquel said. ‘‘This is the way you do it. One of the reasons that I was in Detroit [as a first-base coach], it helped me out a lot being around great people that know about the game. Now I’m trying to apply all those things and everything you learned in your career to a managerial job.’’

Vizquel’s name already is starting to pop up on lists of potential managers. But he knows he has more dues to pay.

‘‘There’s still a lot more to learn,’’ he said.

Short day

Rain altered the Sox’ morning workout schedule on photo day. Players did manage to get work in before an afternoon drenching. Temperatures have been unseasonably cool (in the 50s) throughout camp, with more normal conditions expected next week.

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