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With Carlos Rodon hype building, White Sox fall 4-3 to Orioles

Updated: September 22, 2014 12:34PM



A little more than two months after the White Sox selected him third overall in the June draft, Carlos Rodon seems very close to becoming a big-leaguer.

Talking about Rodon’s just-fine debut at Class AAA Charlotte the night before, general manager Rick Hahn continued to speak Wednesday in glowing terms of a left-hander the organization views as a soon-to-be front-of-the-rotation starter. In the same breath, Hahn cautioned reporters about prematurely tracking Rodon’s path to a big-league debut, but this sounded like the parent who tells his kid there’s no guarantee he gets the driver’s license when he turns 16.

C’mon. Really?

Barring tough times in his next couple of starts, Rodon should be here in early September. The Cubs are generating a buzz with Javy Baez and all that prospect talk, and the Sox, who drew 13,307 while Rodon was pitching before a sellout crowd of 10,287 in Charlotte, could use some September stim of their own. They drew 15,137, including thousands of Baltimore Orioles fans, for Wednesday’s 4-3 loss that completed a three-game sweep. It was the Sox’ 10th defeat in their last 14 games.

‘‘He’s coming along quick and he’s coming along real well,’’ Hahn said of Rodon. ‘‘Last night was a good outing.’’

Rodon pitched three innings, allowing a run and a hit and three walks while striking out three. He opened his last inning with two walks. That his changeup is working very well to go with a slider rated as the best pitch in the draft has Hahn feeling OK about giving Rodon a franchise-record $6,582,000 bonus for a draft pick.

‘‘We again saw the plus slider, which everyone has seen going back to the college days, as well as the very impressive changeup,’’ Hahn said.

Rodon acknowledged fastball command was a bit of a problem, ‘‘but it was his first outing at a high level, and he certainly responded to the challenge,’’ Hahn said.

When rosters expand in September, five to eight additions are likely, Hahn said. Infielders Carlos Sanchez, Marcus Semien, Matt Davidson and Andy Wilkins, outfielder Jared Mitchell, catcher Josh Phegley and Rodon are all possibilities.

‘‘There is nothing set in stone in terms of him coming here or not coming here,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘The decision is going to be made strictly based upon his development and his long-term fit for us.’’

If and when Rodon arrives, it won’t necessarily be in a relief role, which was 2010 first-round lefty Chris Sale’s steppingstone to the rotation in August and September 2010 and for another season as well.

‘‘We feel this guy is very close to being able to help us in the rotation,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘Whether that’s the first part of ’15, the second part of ’15, or ’16, we’ll see. But this guy is coming, we believe, on a fairly quick path and not necessarily one that would require him to spend time in the bullpen.

‘‘We’re going to continue to put challenges in front of this kid, he’s responded to each of them so far, and let’s see how the next couple go.’’

The Sox view Rodon as a big piece of their future, much like right fielder Avisail Garcia, who drove in three runs with a two-run homer and sacrifice fly against lefty Wei-Yin Chen. Sox right-hander Hector Noesi struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter but gave up home runs to Steve Pearce, Nelson Cruz (his 33rd, one more than Jose Abreu) and Adam Jones.

NOTES: Center fielder Adam Eaton (strained right oblique) could return as soon as Tuesday after finishing a short rehab stint at Charlotte.

◆Charlotte second baseman Micah Johnson is out for the season with a strained left hamstring.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @CST_soxvan



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