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Carlos Rodon taking lighter, slower approach to season

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Left-hander Carlos Rodon separated himself from the group of White Sox pitchers playing catch in an outfield Tuesday at Camelback Ranch, and that raised an eyebrow or two.

Rodon, who would later say his arm is fine and that he’s taking a slower approach to getting ready for the regular season — perhaps similar to the light-load tactic Chris Sale took during spring training last year — spent the time talking to Kirk Champion, the Sox’ director of minor-league instruction, near home plate. When a group of pitchers came over to take part in light fielding drills, Rodon joined in but didn’t use his left arm at all, not even for short flips.

“Everything’s normal; everything’s good,’’ Rodon said. “We’re just taking our time, trying to figure out what the plan is here for the long term. The workload is going to be a little more this year, so we’re going to take it a little slow.’’

So there are no issues on the first day of spring training?

Carlos Rodon participates in fielding drills Tuesday. (Photo by Daryl Van Schouwen).

“No, everything feels great,’’ Rodon said. “I’m just excited for this year.’’

Rodon threw a career-high 165 innings last season, his second in the majors, at least 35 shy of what he wants this season. With Sale gone and Jose Quintana the subject of trade rumors, he’ll be needed to carry more weight.

“I want to be one of those [200-inning] guys like Quintana and Sale,’’ Rodon said. “I’m expected to do that, and hopefully I’ll live up to that.’’

Asked when he will throw, Rodon said, “I think Friday. So we’ll see.’’

“There are certain guys we’re going to be measuring in terms of their work,’’ manager Rick Renteria said, “and as soon as we get that structured out there in the longer format, we’ll get them out there and do what we need them to do.’’

Renteria said Rodon is “one we keep measuring.”

Tilson in center

Fleet prospect Charlie Tilson has the inside track on the center-field job, general manager Rick Hahn said.

“We’d all like to see what he can do on a regular basis in center,” Hahn said. “Physically, he’s fine.’’

Hahn said prospects Jacob May and Adam Engel project to play a role and “can certainly handle it defensively,” although they have “more development ahead of them.’’

Also on the depth chart: Peter Bourjos and Leury Garcia, who have big-league experience in center.

Tilson had season-ending surgery after tearing his left hamstring in his Sox debut on Aug.  2 in Detroit.

“I’m pleased with where I’m at,” said Tilson, a New Trier graduate.

This and that

Hahn seems comfortable going forward with the catchers on the roster. Omar Narvaez and Geovany Soto are the leading candidates to open the season.

• Asked if he was looking to add to the roster, perhaps at designated hitter, Hahn said, “We want to give guys here opportunities to show what they can do.” The DH spot could be filled by a variety of options, including right fielder Avisail Garcia and corner infielder Matt Davidson.

• Early position-player arrivals included Todd Frazier, Tim Anderson, Carlos Sanchez, Tilson and Davidson. The first full-squad workout is Saturday.

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com