GLENDALE, Ariz. — Left-hander Carlos Rodon hears some of the hype and feels the buzz in the White Sox’ clubhouse about an improved team, and he likes the good vibrations. But Rodon, 27, recovering from Tommy John surgery, has heard it before, so he gently tapped the brakes on all of it Monday, the first full-squad workout day of spring training.
“On paper, we look pretty good,” said Rodon, the Sox’ Opening Day starter in 2019. “Now we have to put our money where our mouth is and make it happen. Making it happen is a whole different game. You can talk all you want; you have to walk the walk.”
Rodon made his debut in 2015 and hasn’t played on a winner. In 2016, the Sox were good for about a month. So he understands if fans don’t buy into the team at the ticket window until it proves something.
“We keep saying we’re going to be good, but until we show Chicago we can be [good], don’t plan on them showing up,” Rodon said. “And I don’t blame them.”
Rodon, who had the surgery last May 15, figures to make his contribution perhaps in July. And he fully expects that to be as a starter, not a reliever.
“I’m still strong on that,” said Rodon, who always has been a starter. “I don’t consider myself a bullpen arm, and I think [pitching coach Don Cooper] will tell you the same thing. I don’t plan on moving to the bullpen. I believe I can help this team as a starter.”
Rodon threw his fourth bullpen session Monday.
“We’re about at 70 percent as far as intensity, all fastballs,” he said.
Leury the Able Guy
Leury Garcia has played three infield positions and three outfield spots in his career. With a chance to be the Opening Day second baseman, he’s taking a lot of ground balls at second this spring.
“It looks like I will play a little more second base,” Garcia said.
Since his career began in 2013, Garcia has played 314 games in the outfield, most of them in center. He has played 49 games at second base, 45 at shortstop and 43 at third base.
“I will play anywhere,” Garcia said.
Nick Madrigal and Danny Mendick are also in the mix, but Garcia could get the nod if Mendick sticks as a utility man and Madrigal opens the season at Class AAA Charlotte.
“I hope to use him over there quite a bit,” manager Rick Renteria said.
“He’s so talented.”
Renteria kept his speech to the group private.
“We had a really good talk in there,” he said. “We set basically our parameters, our goals. And we’re gonna try and get it done.”
The postseason as a goal did come up.
“I always get a little heated, but hopefully it’s in a good way,” Renteria said.
“None of us is hedging our bets. Everyone has tremendously high expectations. And we’ve got to just get it done.”