PHOENIX — You remember Carlos Rodon, the left-hander who is considered a cornerstone of the rebuilding White Sox’ starting rotation, right?
He has been here in the desert, rehabbing his upper biceps at the Sox’ spring-training facility, since the team put him on the disabled list on Opening Day.
The good news? Rodon threw his fourth simulated game, this one featuring 60 pitches, before the Sox’ game Monday against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. He is getting better, he said.
The bad news? Rodon won’t be back to, as he put it, ‘‘help his boys’’ fight for victories for a while yet. After the All-Star break seems to be a reasonable assumption.
But the Sox are rebuilding anyway. And while Rodon and every player in the clubhouse, as well as manager Rick Renteria, talks more about trying to win now than about the future, there is no reason to push Rodon along any more than necessary.
‘‘The competitor in me says to go out there — ‘I can pitch, I’ll do it, I don’t care,’ ’’ Rodon said while talking to media for the first time since March. ‘‘But then you have to step back and know this is your career. It’s something that could affect you over a long period of time.’’
The 24-year-old Rodon, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, had more strikeouts (307) than any Sox pitcher in his first 54 appearances. He was 9-10 with a 4.04 ERA in his second full season in 2016, including 7-3 with a 3.45 ERA in the second half.
But he made only one start — albeit a dominant one — during spring training.
‘‘I have to be healthy,’’ he said. ‘‘I can’t be on the DL every other month, you know? That’s not going to work. You have to be a reliable starter, and we’re looking into the future. Obviously, hopefully I’m a part of that.’’
The official injury is biceps bursitis, but Rodon said: ‘‘It’s my shoulder. Now it’s kind of fading away to more of a dull soreness after throwing. It’s based off recovery time, how fast I can recover.’’
Rodon said he has cheered like a fan while watching Sox games on TV. He called the entire process ‘‘frustrating.’’
‘‘I’ve been itching [to pitch again] for two months,’’ he said. ‘‘Hopefully soon, they’ll lift the leash off and let me pitch in a game and get back up here for my boys.’’
General manager Rick Hahn watched Rodon throw Monday.
‘‘Each time has been a little more crisp, from what I understand, from the previous ones to today,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘Hopefully in the coming weeks we [will be] able to announce he’s starting a rehab assignment and have a better sense of his time frame.’’
Rodon isn’t the only pitcher in recovery. Reliever Jake Petricka, who has been out since the first week of the season, also has rehabbed in Arizona and threw 20 pitches in a simulated game at Chase Field.
Setup man Nate Jones (elbow neuritis) also faced hitters and is seven to 10 days away from going on a rehab assignment, Hahn said.
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