Carlos Rodon to make first MLB start Saturday

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Jeff Samardzija officially dropped the appeal of his five-game suspension on Wednesday, temporarily opening a spot in the White Sox starting rotation.

And top prospect Carlos Rodon is going to fill it.

Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports that the 22-year-old lefty will make his first major league start on Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Field against the visiting Reds. Rodon was called up from Triple-A Charlotte on April 20 and has been working out of the White Sox bullpen for the past two weeks, boasting a 2.84 ERA and four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.

Rodon, the third overall pick in the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft out of North Carolina State University, struck out 51 batters in 34 1/3 minor league frames before the White Sox opted to promote him to the bigs.

He should eventually replace John Danks or Hector Noesi in Chicago’s rotation.

Report: Pirates sign Felipe Rivero to four-year contract extension

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.

Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.

Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.

Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”