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Rodon’s offseason routine will be different this year

Carlos Rodon pitching at Fenway Park Aug. 4. (AP)

MINNEAPOLIS — Left-hander Carlos Rodon will kick back and unwind like everyone else when the season is over, but the White Sox’ possible Opening Day starter in 2018 will approach his offseason with a more focused and determined plan to avoid what happened to him this spring.

‘‘It will be a little different,’’ Rodon said. ‘‘Add some more shoulder stuff, try to keep that shoulder more stable and get ready for the season. Just a few minor tweaks to get ready and not let something like that slip up on me in the spring.’’

What Rodon endured in the spring was bursitis in his upper left biceps, which forced him to miss all but one of his Cactus League starts and put him on the disabled list from Opening Day till June 28.

When he came off the DL, Rodon talked about staying in a better overall conditioning routine. He also will stay on top of the left shoulder.

‘‘Preventative and strengthening,’’ he said. ‘‘Getting it right and keeping it right and staying on top of it.’’

Rodon said the shoulder ‘‘feels a lot better” and seems to be improving.

‘‘It’s feeling really good right now,’’ he said.

Rodon (2-5, 4.27 ERA) allowed five runs in five innings Saturday against the Tigers, halting a run of five consecutive starts with two runs or fewer allowed.

‘‘Would have liked to have kept it going, but that stuff happens,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s time to come back with some more motivation.’’

His next start is at home Saturday against the Rays.

Kopech honored

Right-hander Michael Kopech, the Sox’ top-rated pitching prospect, was named the Class AA Southern League’s most outstanding pitcher. Kopech had a 2.87 ERA for Birmingham and led the league in strikeouts (115) and batting average against (.184).

Kopech, 21, who came to the Sox in the trade for Chris Sale, will make his third and final start for Class AAA Charlotte on Friday.

In defense of Abreu

Jose Abreu entered play Wednesday hitting .418 in his last 17 games. He was tied for first in the American League in extra-base hits with 66 and was second in total bases with 278.

But manager Rick Renteria made a case for Abreu’s defense, which never has been Gold Glove-caliber, improving in the last month or two.

‘‘It has picked up quite a bit, actually,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘His focus has always been there. I think he’s just taking it to a different level. He’s always taken pride in his defense.’’

Bench coach Joe McEwing, who works with infielders, has been getting Abreu to be set before the pitch.

‘‘He and Joe have had a lot of conversations about being ready for every pitch, assuming a ball and not reacting to a ball,’’ Renteria said.

This and that

Pitching coach Don Cooper will miss the entire series against the Twins with what Renteria described as a sinus issue.

• Outfielder Nicky Delmonico (sprained right wrist) hit off a tee and is making good progress. Renteria said he will expand his workload.

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

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