By Bruce Levine–
(670 The Score) — The White Sox have prided themselves on producing and protecting young pitchers through the trials and tribulations of their journey to and in the big leagues.
The likes of Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Chris Sale and Jose Quintana were remarkably durable through the years under the guidance of pitching coach Don Cooper, trainers Herm Schneider, assistant trainer Brian Ball and strength and conditioning coach Allen Thomas.
Last season, that trend was interrupted by injuries to left-hander Carlos Rodon, whose season debut was delayed until late June because of biceps bursitis and who was then shut down in early September before undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his throwing shoulder. Rodon, 25, isn’t expected back until this June.
Despite Rodon’s health concerns, neither Cooper nor the team is blinking when it comes to the use of their young pitchers, which also includes right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, right-hander Lucas Giolito and right-hander Carson Fulmer.
In somewhat of a surprise, Cooper expressed seeming shock himself that a question of skipping starts to lessen their workload was even raised.
“We have not talked skipping starts at all,” Cooper said. “That thought has not come to my mind at all. Heck, we haven’t even started the season and you are asking if we will skip guys. I have no plans of skipping anybody or shutting anyone down.”
Really, that hasn’t been broached?
“I haven’t made any,” Cooper said. “No one has given me one.”
Of course, the White Sox have long had innings limits for young pitchers, which includes skipping starts here and there.
“We, of course, will cross every bridge when we get there,” Cooper said. “If we see something that has to be done for somebody, we will do it. Of course, their health is the main thing. Without being healthy we can’t have them go out there and do what we are envisioning.”
Giolito, 23, threw a combined 174 innings between Triple-A and the big leagues in 2017. He wants to hit the 200-inning threshold this season.
“That is one of my personal goals for the season,” Giolito said. “When you are a starting pitcher, throwing 200 innings, that means you are doing some really good things for your team. That is a little personal goal for me. Hopefully, I can achieve it.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.