Sale, Rodon: Similar but different

CHICAGO -- Despite their similarities, Chris Sale and Carlos Rodon figure to be different enough to form a formidable 1-2 punch at the head of the Chicago White Sox's rotation one day.

Rodon and Sale are both talented left-handed pitchers who were high draft picks and look to be on a similar route from college starter to a major league roster in the same year. Both compliment a plus fastball with an impressive slider.

The White Sox haven’t announced what is next for Rodon, who has made two starts at Triple-A Charlotte this month. It is suspected, though, that the 21-year-old will be called up to the major leagues when rosters expand in September.

Rodon’s first taste of the major leagues could be out of the bullpen, just as it was for Sale, but he could be in the club’s rotation as early as next season. If Sale and Rodon end up pitching back-to-back in the rotation one day soon, their differences could prove to be an advantage.

As White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton observed this past weekend while on an injury rehab assignment at Charlotte, these aren’t copy-cat sliders.

“It’s good,” Eaton said about Rodon’s slider. “It’s short but it’s very late (breaking). It’s definitely not a Chris Sale slider that will break two feet, a foot and a half. A Rodon slider is kind of short has kind of the same type of arm action as a (fastball). Both are very effective, but definitely different-looking.”

Rodon’s first two Triple-A outings have been impressive. He gave up one run on one hit over four innings Sunday against Norfolk, while striking out eight. Last week against Gwinnett, he gave up one run on one hit over three innings while striking out three.

The White Sox continue to build Rodon’s pitch count (he threw 73 pitches Sunday), all while declining to outline the plans they have for him in the near future. General manager Rick Hahn won’t say if Rodon is coming up to the major leagues in another week, although he did seem to suggest that if he did, he would be a reliever.

Rodon said he doesn’t know the plan, when asked about it by reporters in Charlotte on Sunday.

“I have no idea,” he said. “I assume probably (pitching for Charlotte) Saturday.”

Beyond that, only the front office seems to know for sure.

Despite his impressive results during his short time in the White Sox’s organization, Rodon sounded like a guy who is still looking to refine some things.

“I felt good, better command, struggled a little bit but made an adjustment and it ended up working well,” he said after Sunday’s start. “(The slider) wasn’t bad. A lot of them were for strikes and I need to work on getting it down to be somewhat of a chase pitch.”