When Carlos Rodon made his return after a three-month recovery from left biceps bursitis last week, he said adrenaline may have contributed to a wild first start.
He also looked fired up in his second start against the Athletics on Monday at Oakland Coliseum, but it worked in his favor in a 7-2 White Sox victory.
After allowing a two-run single to Adam Rosales in the second inning that gave the A’s a short-lived lead, Rodon struck out the next four batters on his way to retiring 11 straight until Jed Lowrie’s sixth-inning single.
Over 6 1/3 innings, Rodon allowed just those two second-inning runs on four hits with three walks and 10 strikeouts — the fifth time in his career he reached double digits. It was a glimpse of the promising pitcher the Sox have been missing as he waited out his recovery in Arizona and then in North Carolina during a rehab stint.
Sox manager Rick Renteria said he was looking for Rodon to go deeper than he did in his first outing last Wednesday, when he gave up three runs — all unearned — over five innings against the Yankees.
Rodon helped himself Monday by throwing just seven pitches in the fourth and eight in the fifth.
“It’s one of the things I know (pitching coach Don Cooper) talked to him a lot about over the last couple of years, being more efficient, attacking the strike zone, trusting his stuff,” Renteria said.
Rodon appeared to flinch after throwing a pitch to Franklin Barreto in the second, and the Sox went out to check on him before allowing him to remain in the game. He walked two batters to load the bases before Rosales’ hit for a brief 2-1 A’s lead.
Rodon issued a one-out walk in the seventh and might have gotten out of the inning on a double play if second baseman Yolmer Sanchez hadn’t dropped shortstop Tim Anderson’s throw to put two on base. Anthony Swarzak relieved Rodon and worked out of the jam.
Todd Frazier opened the second with a double against A’s right-hander Jharel Cotton and scored on Anderson’s RBI single. Frazier added a two-run double in the third, advancing to third on Rosales’ error, and Matt Davidson drove him in with a double for a 4-2 lead.
The Sox added a pair of eighth-inning runs against reliever Michael Brady, helped by another Rosales error, and one in the ninth on a bases-loaded walk by Adam Engel.
Garcia out: Before Avisail Garcia could answer how he was feeling Monday afternoon, first baseman Jose Abreu interjected in English that Garcia was “happy, happy, happy.”
Garcia was feeling good after being named an American League All-Star on Sunday, but he also was still recovering from a sore left knee that has kept him out since Wednesday. Renteria sent Garcia through full pregame activity Monday afternoon — batting practice, running and shagging fly balls — to see if he is close to game ready.
Garcia said he wants to be healthy not only for his first All-Star Game but “the whole season.”
“You’ve got to be careful with the knee — you only have two,” Garcia said with a laugh. “I prefer to have five days (off) and then play again. I don’t want to lose two weeks or four weeks. That’s why we’re really careful with it.”
International signing: The Sox announced the signing of switch-hitting Dominican shortstop Sydney Pimentel. Sox international operations director Marco Paddy said Pimentel, 16, is a natural shortstop with a physical frame and “surprising power” from both sides of the plate.
The Sox also have signed catcher Jefferson Mendoza since the international signing period began Sunday.