MLB: Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers

It’s Spring Training time and everyone’s feelin’ fine

White Sox pitchers and catchers — as well as a good number of early-arriving position players — participated in workouts at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz., for the first time Tuesday. The start of Spring Training is normally noteworthy for no other reason than because it’s the start of something. We’re still more than six weeks away from meaningful baseball, but players, coaches, as well as general manager Rick Hahn, were all doing the spring optimism thing, even as trade rumors continue to swirl around the organization.

The most noteworthy bit of news to come out of Day 1 was the fact that Carlos Rodon was not among the pitchers throwing — no tossing and no bullpen session.

This was, as repeated by both Rodon and Rick Renteria, part of a plan to limit Rodon’s workload early in order to keep him fresh, particularly during a season where Spring Training is starting early in order to accommodate for the World Baseball Classic.

“Workload is going to be a little more this year, so we’re going to take it a little slow,” Rodon said. “I guess they thought (if) it worked for Chris (Sale), it might work for me. We’re just taking it slow.”

“There are certain guys we’re going to be measuring in terms of their work, 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.

Sale, if you’ll recall, had his workload lightened last spring as he was limited to simulated starts and “B” games throughout most of camp, not starting in an actual Cactus League game until March 19.

Whether or not the extra care in Sale’s handling had anything to do with yet another successful campaign for him in 2016 is neither here nor there. The point is that Don Cooper obviously has a strong track record of knowing how to handle pitchers, and with Sale gone and Jose Quintana’s tenure seemingly dwindling, Rodon will soon become the top talent on the White Sox roster, newly acquired prospects notwithstanding.

Rodon threw 165 innings last season, and even if Quintana sticks around for the duration of 2017, he’ll be counted on to provide a top of the rotation workload. Whether or not he takes another step forward and the production matches the workload is to be determined, but while all the talk this spring is on the White Sox shiny, new toys, it’s clear the White Sox still have big plans and lofty expectations for their former No. 3 overall pick.

Lead Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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