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.
- Speaking of Sale, the Red Sox showed off their shiny, new toy on Tuesday, and he talked about wanting to win a lot. A LOT. CSNNE’s Trenni Kusnierek writes about it.
- Rick Hahn met with reporters for his spring-opening press conference on Tuesday and held firm on what he’s been saying ever since Sale and Adam Eaton were shipped off early in the offseason. He’s in no rush to make deals happen, as The Athletic’s James Fegan writes.
- The Daily Herald’s Scott Gregor reported Tuesday that owner Jerry Reinsdorf finally gave the green light for a White Sox rebuild after years of steadfast refusal. One quote from his piece: “We pounded the desk for years to do this,” the Sox employee said. “It’s something that needed to be done in the past, but the timing never seemed to be right. It is now, and there’s a lot of excitement about it.” An owner being the final decider for something like this is not necessarily noteworthy, but the fact that he was against the idea for so many years despite an unwillingness to commit the kind of money to built a legitimate contender is, well, it’s something.
- Hahn made it clear Tuesday that the White Sox are going to give their youngsters every opportunity to show what they can do this spring, as CSNChicago’s Dan Hayes writes. Within the piece is a revelation we long expected, that Charlie Tilson is likely to get the first look in center field, presuming he’s healthy enough after tearing his hamstring last summer. Other players expected to get extended looks include Matt Davidson and Omar Narvaez.
- I wrote Tuesday about the trade rumors that are likely to swirl over the heads of a number of veterans throughout the spring, and the spotlight was on David Robertson on Tuesday, fresh off reports that the White Sox and Nationals were close to a deal to send the closer to Washington before it fell apart. Robertson said all the right things about putting the rumors out of his head and focusing on getting ready for the season, as the Chicago Tribune’s Colleen Kane writes.
Lead Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports