DURHAM The results on the scoreboard weren’t good, but the White Sox saw what they were looking for from Carlos Rodon.The former NC State ace and No. 3 overall draft pick has been on the disabled list for the first three months of the season, battling left biceps bursitis.When Rodon was ready to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment, the Holly Springs resident was able to pitch on home turf.Of Rodon’s four minor league rehab starts, three came in the state of North Carolina. On June 6, he pitched 3.1 innings for Winston-Salem (Chicago’s Single-A affiliate) in Zebulon, against the Carolina Mudcats.Then it was on to Charlotte, the Triple-A affiliate of the White Sox, for three rehab starts. The first was in Gwinnett, followed by a home game against Indianapolis. His final test was at the DBAP in Durham, site of some of his best games as a college player and member of Team USA.”It’s nice to be back,” Rodon said after the game against the Durham Bulls. “Nice to pitch back at home. I’ve always loved pitching here. I love Durham.”In addition to several gems against Duke, who frequently play ACC home games at the DBAP, Rodon started ACC Tournament games, when Durham hosted the event. He also had an outstanding performance to beat Cuba in a Team USA exhibition game four years ago.For three innings, the familiar surrounds seemed to bring out the vintage Rodon. He retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced and, at one point, struck out six of seven Bulls batters.”I thought location-wise, I was pretty good,” he said. “My slider was good. I didn’t use that much in my last start. So we tried to break that out today. It seemed like it was working pretty good. I got some strikeouts on that. My fastball in was better. Command-wise, I felt pretty good.”Rodon ran into some trouble in the fourth inning. After getting a leadoff strikeout, Rodon gave up a pair of walks and four hits, including two doubles, as the Bulls hung seven runs on him.”Walks are never good,” Rodon said. “I think it was a lefty that I walked, and that stings a little bit. That’s on me, and that can’t happen. Those walks always seem to come back and score. They bite you in the butt.”The Bulls bats also caused some trouble for the lefthander.”I left a couple pitches up, and they made me pay,” Rodon said. “But on a couple good pitches I threw, they hit them too. These guys are just good. These guys can play baseball. It’s not an easy level to pitch at.”Even though the result wasn’t what he wanted, Rodon said it was good to be home. “It’s nice to be able to see the family,” he said. “I don’t get to see them much or get to hang out with them. It was a pleasure to be here.””I thought it would help me out this time, again,” he added, referring to his other magical DBAP moments. “I guess sometimes you’ve got to pay back the ballpark.”Remarkably, after being saddled with the loss against the Bulls, Rodon dropped to 0-4 in his rehab starts.”I’m kind of still trying to go out and compete and win for the team,” Rodon said. “But it hasn’t gone the right way for me. Those things happen.”Still, while the scoreboard didn’t indicate it, Rodon considered the latest outing a success.”Today, I felt really god,” he said. “I probably felt my best. I felt like everything I threw was on. I felt back to normal.”So, naturally, the big question was when would Rodon be ready to return to the majors?”My arm’s coming back,” he said. “Everything seems healthy. Today was a big step. I think I’m ready to be up there. It’s just up to them. … That’s on the White Sox. I’ll be ready when they call my name.”It didn’t take long for the Sox brass to make their opinion known. By the end of the weekend, Rodon was back with the team, and he could be activated for a start as soon as Wednesday night, against the Yankees.
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