Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

July 2011 Archives

The White Sox traded starting pitcher Edwin Jackson and third baseman Mark Teahen to the Toronto Blue Jays for pitchers Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart on Wednesday.

The Sox also called up center fielder Alejandro De Aza from AAA Charlotte, and the left-handed hitting 27-year-old made an immediate impact, hitting a home run in his first at-bat to to give the Sox a 2-0 lead against the Detroit Tigers. He replaces slumping veteran Alex Rios.

The moves do not signal the start of a selling-off process before the non-waiver trade deadline, although they save the team close to $10 million in payroll through 2012. The trade strengthened the bullpen, left the team with five quality starters and unloaded the big contract of Teahen, who wasn't offering much in return.

By bringing up De Aza, general manager Ken Williams said he made it clear to manager Ozzie Guillen that he should play his best lineup, regardless of salary. Rios, who is making $12 million in the midst of a multiyear contract, will "take a back seat" for a while, Williams said.

"Here's what I told Ozzie: Do not worry about the size of the contracts. Just worry about putting the players out there on a given day that can him win,'' Williams said. "The size of the contract is not Ozzie's problem. It's not Jerry's [Reinsdorf] problems. It's not the coaches' problems. That's my problem.

"Put the players on the field that can win. I don't give a darn if one guy is making $400,000 and the other guy is making $12 million.''

De Aza, a left-handed hitter, was batting .322 with 29 doubles, five triples and nine home runs for AAA Charlotte. He batted eighth in Guillen's lineup Wednesday.

Looking to "make a dent" in its $127 million payroll, the Sox save about $9.5 million through next season with the trade. The Blue Jays assume all of Teahen's contract, which runs through 2011. The Jays traded Jackson to the St. Louis Cardinals in an eight-player deal that brought St. Louis center fielder Colby Rasmus to Toronto, according to reports.

Jackson will become a free agent after the season, and with six starters in their rotation, he was considered expendable by the Sox.

"We needed to make a little bit of a dent in our payroll here, which has been stressed a little bit,'' Williams said. "We did not want to be making a move that would be counter productive to the opportunity for us to win still. So how could we accomplish both of the goals?

Williams said the Sox will absorb the loss of a starter by "shortening the game by having another guy in the bullpen, which also helps protect our other right-handers, Sergio Santos and Jesse Crain, in particular.''

"Because we began to get worried about Jesse Crain's overusage. Not that he is being overused but the potential is when you get into August and September, you tax a guy, he becomes ineffective and you might end up hurting him. Now we've insulated ourselves against that.''

Frasor, who is from Oak Forest, bolsters the bullpen with another solid right-handed setup man to go with Jesse Crain. The 33-year-old Frasor is 2-1 with a 2.98 ERA in 44 appearances. He is 24-28 with a 3.69 ERA in 455 appearances over eight seasons. Frasor, who will join the team Friday, has a $3.75 million club option for next season.

"This kid is one of the best out there,'' Guillen said.

Stewart, 24,who will be optioned to AAA Charlotte, was 0-1 with a 4.86 ERA in his first three major-league starts. He made his debut June 16. Before that, he was 5-5 with a 4.20 ERA in 16 starts with AA New Hampshire.

Jackson, 27, acquired before last season's trade deadline for Daniel Hudson and David Holmberg, was 7-7 with a 3.92 ERA for the Sox this season.

"You leave a great group of guys,'' Jackson said. "But at the end of the day, it's nothing I can control. The only thing I can do is pitch for the team I'm with and help that team win."

Teahen, 29, batted .209 with three home runs. He was in the second year of a three-year, $14 million contract, and unloading that deal -- the Blue Jays assume all of the contract which includes a club option for next season -- was a major attraction for Williams making the deal. The Sox also get a right-handed reliever in Frasor, who is signed through next year, and a pitcher in Stewart who has been on the Sox radar for a while.

Teahen was plagued by injuries last season and was beaten out for the starting third base job by rookie Brent Morel. He leaves the Sox with the belief that they can win the AL Central.

"It's a good team,'' Teahen said. "All the pieces are kind of in place and I think adding Frasor will help. Except when we're playing against them, I'll obviously pull for a lot of guys here. The team is in place, I think everybody knows the talent is there, it just kind of hasn't lined up so far this year, but there's two big months left.''

Said Williams: "Since the All-star Break, with the exception of our KC series, I've enjoyed the guys go at it. They've been going at it hard. It's been encouraging. Even last night's loss, I found encouragement in last night's loss because they battled their tails off. Justin Verlander is a tough dude out there. We had some guys shorten their swings and battle at-bat after at-bat and we had a chance to win.

"That's all you can hope for. We keep getting that kind of intensity, I think we are more likely to stick with the situation then to go the direction I mentioned the other day. Let's wait until we get to Sunday.''

Humber joins White Sox bullpen

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CLEVELAND - Philip Humber, who arguably has been the White Sox' best starter, has joined the bullpen.
But it's only temporary.
To avoid having John Danks pitch on eight days rest, pitching coach Don Cooper and manager Ozzie Guillen decided in the aftermath of Saturday's rainout to put Humber in the pen through Thursday's off day. Mark Buehrle, Jake Peavy and Danks will pitch against the Tigers, in that order, in the three-game series that begins tonight at U.S. Cellular Field.
"I'm good with it,'' said Humber (8-6, 3.27 ERA), who would have started Sunday if not for the rainout. "Whatever they want me to do. I've said all along, when they give me the ball, I'll do the best I can with it. I have a chance to pitch today, tomorrow or the next day so we'll see what happens.
"We've got a bunch of guys throwing the ball well. And hopefully I'll have an opportunity to help them in the bullpen maybe."
Guillen, said Humber is "the only [starter] we can use out of the bullpen. Last time we used Peavy out of the bullpen, he got in trouble to come back."
Peavy had three subpar starts after he pitched in relief on June 25.
Edwin Jackson started for the Sox against the Indians Sunday.

White Sox - Indians postponed

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CLEVELAND -- The White Sox game against the Cleveland Indians scheduled for Saturday night was postponed because of rain.

No makeup date has been announced, but it's likely the teams will play a day-night doubleheader when the Sox play a mid-week three-game series Sept. 20-22 in Cleveland.

Edwin Jackson, the Sox' scheduled starter on Saturday, will pitch Sunday. Indians right-hander Justin Masterson will pitch Sunday as scheduled. Lefty David Huff was slated to pitch Saturday but is now out of the Indians plans for the Sox.

Pitching coach Don Cooper did not know how the Sox' rotation would be altered past Sunday. He said he would discuss it with manager Ozzie Guillen Saturday night and make a determination later.

Relief will help Sale as White Sox starter

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CLEVELAND - An American League scout following the White Sox said it best after getting a closeup look at left-hander Chris Sale: He's too good to pitch in the bullpen.

"He's going to be starting before too long, right?" he asked.

Yes. Sale will finish the season playing a valuable role in the pen, but there's a very good chance he'll go to spring training in 2011 as a starter. In the meantime, Sale is getting on-the-job training for starting in the major leagues by pitching in relief.

"If you're starting and late in a game you find yourself in trouble, you can look back and say 'this is the job I used to be in.' " Sale said.

Taken with the 13th overall pick in the 2010 draft, Sale made four minor-league appearances, all in relief, before being fast-tracked to the Sox. He posted a 1.91 ERA for the big club late last season, getting four saves.

He worked through one minor bump early this season and is clicking now, with a 1.42 ERA over his last 19 games to lower his ERA from 6.48 to 3.43.

If left-hander Mark Buehrle leaves the Sox as a free agent, a spot opens in the rotation. Starter Edwin Jackson will also be a free agent.

"There isn't a set date or projected time,'' Sale said. "I talk to Coop [pitching coach Don Cooper] about it. He says this is the foundation for when you are starting. but I'm worried about what is going on right now rather than what could be in the future.''

Sale is coachable, poised and mature for a 22-year-old. The angle from which he throws his slider, not to mention a mid-upper 90s fastball, presents a challenge to hitters from both sides of the plate. He also has a changeup, which will get more use when he starts

"I've been doing it for longer than I've been in the league; it's what I've done," Sale said "But by no means do I not want to be In the pen. I'm having a great time doing this.

It's only one game, but Dunn shows signs of breaking out

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CLEVELAND -- Adam Dunn will be in the White Sox lineup tonight. Left-hander, right-hander, it doesn't matter. The Sox need Dunn to produce to set themselves apart from the American League Central, and the time is now.

After getting two hits in the Sox' 3-0 win against the Cleveland Indians on Friday, there was a small ray of hope in the Sox clubhose that the big, left-handed bopper may be coming out of his season-long rut.

Of course, there have been signs of this before, followed only by disappointment. So manager Ozzie Guillen is keeping his fingers crossed. He batted Dunn fourth again on Friday despite his .163 average, and Dunn will bat fourth tonight against Indians left-hander David Huff. Dunn is 2-for-65 with 30 strikeouts against lefties this season.

"I felt good today,'' said Dunn, after getting two sharp singles and two fly outs, including a warning track shot off the end of his bat. "I was feeling like I was using my legs a lot more. I was able to stay back on some pitches that I would have been way out in front of or swung and missed at. So hopefully that will stay the course."

Dunn's second single followed a single by Paul Konerko and came before Carlos Quentin's three-run homer against a right-hander with Carlos Carrasco. It was an opposite-field shot on the first pitch to the opposite field.

"We knew what we were up against,'' Dunn said. "He can be very tough. He was really good tonight. Carlos just got that big hit."

"A guy like him, it's hard to string three hits together in a row. We were able to do that, and Carlos got the big one."

The Sox are in an important stretch with two more games in Cleveland and three at home starting Monday against the division-leading Detroit Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field. Their only change in tonight's lineup is Brent Morel playing third base instead of left-handed hitting Mark Teahan.

"We knew after we lost a couple at Kansas City we would be coming here and really put some pressure on not only the Indians but the Tigers as well,'' Dunn said. "Hopefully we continue to play well, and win some games here, win the series and carry it over.''

Hitting coach Greg Walker remains confident that Dunn will find it. His slump, in his first year with the Sox, has been one of the most perplexing things Walker has encountered on the job.

"I've studied it, talked to other people,'' Walker said. "I've asked other people to look at it in our clubhouse, friends in the business and everybody pretty much says the same thing: It's something he's going to have to get a feel for and when he gets it watch out because he is going to have a lot of motivation to run it out.''

Dunn is 6-for-15 at Progressive Field this season.

"I don't think there's anything to it," he said. "I remember coming here with Cincinnati and hated it because I felt crooked in the box. I think that's a fluke, maybe."

Aggressive Floyd is White Sox road warrior

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CLEVELAND -- Pitching coach Don Cooper has been after White Sox right-hander Gavin Floyd to get after it, to go against his easy-going nature and pitch with aggression.

Especially since the All-Star break, Floyd has been doing just that and the Sox are loving the results.

In their 3-0 victory against the Cleveland Indians on Friday night, Floyd attacked the strike zone and pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings for his second road win against a team the Sox are chasing in the AL Central. Last week Floyd allowed two runs (one earned) in 7 2/3 innings in an 8-2 victory against the Tigers in Detroit.

"I think it's just being aggressive,'' Floyd said. "Any time you get ahead of hitters or get quick outs, you get longer in the game and just try to make pitches early on and let the at-bat kind of play out. Just try to let our defense get the ball.''

Floyd allowed four hits, walked none and struck out five. He is 2-1 with a 1.84 ERA in his last four road starts. This one didn't give him any special satisfaction, he said.

"I'll enjoy it a little bit tonight, but tomorrow is right back at them,'' he said. "Just keep on pushing. It's a long season.''

Cooper recently talked about Floyd when he's at his best.

"You are looking to dominate, so you can't go in picking away and not being aggressive,'' Cooper said. "If you do that you will suffer a slow death or maybe survive. The outcome you are looking for is domination so you might as well go mano a mano from the first pitch right now. That's it with Gavin.''

"His focus is a key thing, too,'' Cooper said. "To focus and commit. Then bring that good stuff unchained, just let it go.

"His approach key for me is to be aggressive, and have a quicker rhythm and tempo. Throw all four of his pitches like a fastball, let it go with the best of his God-given ability.''

Said Floyd: "Ever since I came over here, I've been trying to attack with everything. Trying to get quick outs and that's the way you stay on your game.''

Quentin's three-run homer, Floyd's pitching carry White Sox

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CLEVELAND -- The White Sox used a can't-lose formula to win an important game at Progressive Field on Friday night: An outstanding pitching performance and a three-run homer.

Gavin Floyd pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings, staying on a good roll on the road with a 1.89 ERA over his last four starts as the Sox defeated the Indians 3-0.

"The story is that Gavin did unbelievable,'' said right fielder Carlos Quentin, whose 20th home run of the season came with Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn on base in the fifth inning after the Sox had left two runners on in each of the first three innings. "We had some chances and didn't get it done. It wasn't for a lack of effort but it just didn't get done early and he kept us right there 0-0 and he was unbelievable tonight.''

Quentin hit a 409-foot blast against Carlos Carrasco to left field and added two singles. The Sox have three homers in the last seven games, all by Quentin.

"We're trying to get on the board so I saw him pretty good the first three pitches,'' Quentin said. "I knew he didn't want to get behind me 3-1. Usually I kind of hit off the fastball where I want it directionally. I tried to stay up the middle and got a pitch middle in. I put good wood on it and got it out.

"I gave my team a chance to win today so that's all I can ask for in myself.''

The Sox got to within 3 1/2 games of the Indians in the AL Central. The Tigers defeated the Twins to maintain a 4 1/2 game lead. The Sox play the Tigers at home in a three-game series starting Monday.

"Every week is an important week for us,'' Quentin said. "Those are formidable opponents and we have to play well against them.''

Matt Thornton bailed Floyd pitched out of a jam in the eighth and Sergio Santos pitched the ninth for the save.

Teahen gets another start for White Sox

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CLEVELAND - In major need of a boost to the lineup, the White Sox can start by looking within, which is why Mark Teahen figures to get more at-bats in the coming weeks. The left-handed hitter started at third base against the Indians on Friday night, his fifth start in the seven games since the All-Star break.

"I think I can definitely help offensively, and we haven't had the offensive team we thought we would be coming out of spring, so hopefully having me in there, another lefty, sparks it a little bit,'' Teahen said before the Sox defeated the Indians at Progressive Field on Friday night.

Rookie Brent Morel was given the job in spring training and has been good defensively while batting .242. Teahen has been better defensively than he was last season, and with Adam Dunn struggling, having another left-handed, run-producing bat would help.

"Sometimes you take some steps back to take some steps forward,'' Teahen said of his defense. "Last year I went through a tough stretch and then getting hurt I didn't come back completely healthy. It's nice to be in there and feel comfortable.''

Teahen is in the second year of a three-year, $14 million deal that hasn't measured up to his playing time or production, which Teahen is well aware.

"Sure, yes,'' he said. "Obviously the money is nice but it doesn't matter if you're playing Little League or playing here with a big contract, you want to play. The whole point of preparing all off-season and working hard every day and ultimately get on the field is to play well and help the team win. It is aggravating when you don't get that chance but hopefully more of those are coming.''

Teahen went into the Sox game at Cleveland with a .215 average, and was 12-for-68 (.176) since May 1. He expects to hit near his career average of .266 with more at-bats. He was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and fly ball to the warning track in left field.

"Yeah, for sure,'' he said. "It's tough to get in any kind of rhythm with three at-bats a week. I think the more I get in there, the better the results I'll get.''

White Sox' Danks outstanding in return from disabled list

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KANSAS CITY -- Lost in the frustration of one of the White Sox toughest losses, a 2-1 defeat in 11 innings to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night, was the encouraging pitching performance of left-hander John Danks.

Making his first start since June 25, when he strained an oblique muscle that put him on the disabled list, Danks pitched seven scoreless innings and left with a 1-0 lead but the bullpen couldn't protect it in the eighth inning and the Royals won when Alex Gordon scored on a wild pitch by Sergio Santos in the 11th.

"It's about winning ballgames,'' Danks said. "It's a tough loss, obviously. It was a well played game. There were some errors, and the last play obviously.''

Royals starter Bruce Chen was about as good, allowing one run over a season-high eight innings.

"If you look at Bruce Chen's numbers, especially at home here, he's been real good,'' Danks said. "I knew I had to be close to perfect, at the end of the day it's about wins and loses. Unfortunately we didn't pull it off.''

Danks struck out six, walked one and gave up five hits. He threw 110 pitches on a night when the game-time temperature was 96 degrees. He was activated from the disabled list before the game.

"The first time out you dont know what to expect,'' Danks said. "I had a lot of confidence coming in that I could get back on the roll I was on before I got hurt. Wasn't exaactly where I wanted to be but all in all I am pleased with how I threw the ball.''

After starting the season with an 0-8 record and 5.25 ERA, Danks' ERA is 0.88 over his last five starts. He is back and pitching like the guy many expected him to be -- a potential staff ace.

"If you would have told me coming out of spring training this is where we would be I wouldn't have believed you,'' Danks said of the team's 47-51 record that includes a 3-5 mark against the 40-58 Royals. "We haven't played to expectations. We've played well enough to hang around but at the end of the day that doesn't do you a whole lot of good.

"We're in position to make a run we're still in it but there's only so much longer we can say that. We have to get on a roll, we know that. We have a big series with Cleveland [this weekend], we can make up a lot of ground. We still believe we can be the team to beat in the division but we have to start playing like that for sure.''

Santiago optioned to AA after impressing White Sox

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Left-hander Hector Santiago turned some heads during his first stay in the major leagues, which come to an expected close Tuesday night before the White Sox activated lefty John Danks from the disabled list.

Santiago, a 30th round pick in 2006, impressed his teammates, who wished him well after the Sox' 4-2 loss at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday. He was optioned back to AA Birmingham.

Santiago made two relief appearances over his 3 ½ week stay and didn't allow a run. He pitched 4 1/3-innings against Minnesota on July 7. His recent development of a screwball to go with a live fastball makes him a prospect worth watching.

"Mark Buehrle was like, '95 [mph], where did that come from?' '' Santiago said.

Before the game Tuesday, Santiago hadn't been told that he was going back.

"I'm prepared,'' he said. "I kind of knew my role coming up here. Just wishing for the best and whatever happens, happens.''

Returning to AA is the best of both worlds for Santiago because he can get more work with the confidence of knowing he can succeed at the big-league level.

"I mean, yeah it was only five innings,'' he said, "but you know you can get hitters out now.You're not sure what you can do up here. It's a different game up here.''

Santiago was just getting comfortable, enjoying major-league meal money, nice hotels and everything else about the big show.

"At first you come in not knowing anybody, going from the minor leagues to the big leagues,'' he said. "At first there's some shyness and nervousness, trying to get comfortable with everybody. You get past that.''

Santiago is 6-5 with a 4.08 ERA in 14 starts at Winston-Salem and Birmingham.

White Sox' Dunn gets a day off -- or two

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Adam Dunn was out of the lineup Tuesday night and it's not out of the question he'll sit out tonight, too, manager Ozzie Guillen said.

The Royals started left-hander Danny Duffy on Tuesday night and will start lefty Bruch Chen tonight. Dunn is 2-for-64 against left-handers with 29 of his 124 strikeouts, but Dunn (.158, nine homers, 36 RBI) is struggling against pitchers of all shapes and sizes.

"It depends on how we do today--then we'll figure out tomorrow,'' Guillen said.

Guillen let out a big sigh when asked if he is at a loss about what to do with Dunn, who is in the first year of a four-year, $56 million contract. Since hitting a two-run single against Justin Verlander in the first game after the All-Star break, Dunn is 1-for-13 with six strikeouts.

"Against the best pitcher in the game,'' Guillen said. "Then we say, 'there we go, we got him back, the break helped him. Everything goes through your mind when every time you go to the plate and hope for something good will happen, and it continues to not to happen.

"What can we do? Believe me, we can just throw him out there and play him. We try to help him physically and mentally, give him a vote of confidence. We tell him we still believe in him, we don't regret signing him, he's not the man on this ballclub, he's not having to carry the ballclub. Everything is in his favor. The only thing that's not in his favor is he's not producing.''

Dunn said he doesn't feel like he regressed in the last few games.

"I don't think so,'' he said. "They're making adjustments. Yesterday I got pitched differently [more breaking balls]. Just being too aggressive since the All-Star break and they're taking advantage of it by throwing me soft stuff early and that's not my game.

"Everything is there except me swinging at bad pitches. I'm working the count, putting myself in usually good hitters counts and not making them pay.''

On Sunday, Guillen said he would not protect Dunn from breaking Mark Reynolds' major league record of 223 strikeouts in 2009.

"I will sit him down if he's not helping the ballclub - but not because of a mark," Guillen said.

In other words, Dunn will be treated like a big boy.

"He has to do it for himself,'' Guillen said Tuesday. "We can't do anything about it.''

Pierre continues to spark White Sox

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- No player was more maligned than left fielder Juan Pierre when the White Sox were struggling their way through an 11-22 start. Pierre played poorly in the field, on the bases and he didn't provide any spark at the top of the order.

Fans wanted him benched. Media wanted Dayan Viciedo brought up from AAA to take his place. But manager Ozzie Guillen stood by Pierre, who is having another good second half and giving the Sox what they need in the leadoff spot.

Pierre extended his hitting streak to 10 games on Monday night in the Sox' 5-2 win against the Kansas City Royals. It was the Sox third win in four games on the current road trip that began over the weekend in Detroit. Pierre is batting .356 (52-for-146) over his last 18 games, raising his average from .248 to .276. He is second on the team in hits behind Paul Konerko.

"When I first had Juan he was younger but now, in the last couple of years of his career Juan starts very slow,'' Guillen said. "He picked it up and he's playing better. He's fielding better, running better and he is getting big hits for us lately. When Juan hits, this team does better.''

Pierre might get a rare night off Wednesday when the Sox face a lefty for the second straight game, Guillen said. The Royals are starting lefties both nights, and Brent Lillibridge was in the lineup to replace Adam Dunn for Tuesday's game. Carlos Quentin is batting fourth at designated hitter, with Lillibridge in right field batting sixth.

Pierre led off the game with a triple and scored on Alexei Ramirez's sacrifice fly. He added an RBI single with two outs in the Sox' two-run sixth, scoring Gordon Beckham.

"We need him on base as much as he can,'' Sox winning pitcher Mark Buehrle said. "It seems like he's been a clutch RBI guy. Late in the game there are guys at third and he comes up with that hit. Everyone is starting to click right now which is important."

White Sox' Flowers to catch Peavy on Tuesday

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KANSAS CITY - Jake Peavy spoke highly of Tyler Flowers before the catcher came up from AAA on July 10 after Ramon Castro broke his right hand and index finger. The two were batterymates during Peavy's minor-league rehab starts, and Peavy liked what he saw.

Flowers will make his first start tonight, with Peavy on the mound, in Kansas City.

"I think Flowers knows Peavy better than A.J.,'' Sox manager Ozzie Guillen cracked, a reference to all of Peavy's work in Charlotte while working his way back to health.

"I'm not worried about making an impression,'' said Flowers, who will give A.J. Pierzynski a rest against left-hander Danny Duffy. "They've seen me for a while now, in the spring and a couple Septembers. The main goal is to help the team win. Help Jake Peavy have a good outing [tonight] and the White Sox win the game. That will say more than Tyler going 4-for-4 and doesn't catch well and Peavy gives up eight runs. That's not going to get it done.''

Flowers, 25, came to the Sox with Brent Lillibridge and two others in the trade for Javier Vazquez in 2008. The Sox' re-signing of Pierzynski last off-season delayed his arrival to the majors, but more seasoning at AAA Charlotte hasn't hurt him.

Flowers was batting .261 with 15 homers and 32 RBI and ranked third in the International League in on-base percentage (.390). He was batting .354 with eight homers in his last 15 games. Catching Peavy, with whom he's familiar, is a good way to break in this season.

"Granted it's AAA but he's had good outings down there when I catch him,'' Flowers said. "We seem to be on the same page for the most part. It's been a lot of fun down there. I know he said that to me and I said the same thing . I'm looking forward to [tonight].''

Pierzynski and Peavy exchanged heated words during the Sox' 4-3 win against the Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field on June 22, then quickly patched things up. Peavy is eager to see Flowers in action, but only because of what he saw in Flowers at AAA, he said.

"I was very impressed with the work Tyler has put in ... Tyler is a big leaguer. He belongs here, he just hasn't had the opportunity. He and I will probably gameplan and I look forward to executing it [tonight]. He receives outstanding and throws the ball real well.''

KANSAS CITY -- Mark Teahen will be in the starting lineup for the third fourth consecutive game when the White Sox play the Kansas City Royals tonight to open a three-game series against their AL Central Division foe.

Teahen, who was obtained by the Sox before the 2010 season from the Royals in exchange for infielders Chris Getz and Josh Fields, is enjoying his increased playing time since the All-Star break.

"Yeah for sure,'' Teahen said. "Anybody will tell you it's nice to get a few days in a row so I'm enjoying it.''

Rookie third baseman Brent Morel will sit for a fourth straight game, but will likely play Tuesday and Wednesday when the Royals start left-handers Danny Duffy and Bruce Chen. Teahen, a left-handed hitter, started every game of the Sox series at Detroit, where they won two of three games.

"I want to be in there but I totally understand,'' Morel said Sunday. "For the way we were playing before the break and for us to play as well as we have the last couple of games, why would you switch anything up? I get it. I'm just rooting for those guys and as long as we're winning why change anything?

"Teahen is playing well right now.''

The job was Morel's to lose in spring training because of his defense, but Teahen has played better with the glove than he did last season.

"His defense has been good all year long,'' Guillen said.

"When you are winning, the last thing you want to do is change the lineup and the momentum of the team,'' Guillen said.

The job was Morel's to lose in spring training because of his defense, but Teahen has played better with the glove than he did last season.

"His defense has been good all year long,'' Guillen said. "It has been better than in the past. He has more confidence and he has worked very hard. He knows to get playing time, he has to catch the ball. That happened to him last year when we couldn't put him in the lineup before he got hurt. But it was important for him to get out there to make the plays. He don't have to be a Gold Glover outfielder or third base. But that will help to get more playing time.''

"When you are winning, the last thing you want to do is change the lineup and the momentum of the team.''

The Royals are in last place in the division but they always give the Sox fits in Kansas City. The last five Sox games at Kauffman Stadium have been decided in extra innings, withe Sox winning two of them. Seven of the last 10 have been decided by one run. The Sox are 3-4 in those.

Right-hander Kyle Davies (1-8, 7.74) will pitch against Sox lefty Mark Buehrle (6-5, 3.42) tonight.

Relief stint took its toll on White Sox' Peavy

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DETROIT -- Try as he might, Jake Peavy isn't what he used to be. Surgery to reattach a torn lat will take something ot on a pitcher, and the White Sox right-hander is coming to grips with the reality that he won't be at full strength this season.

Next season might be another story, after the 12-18 month full recovery process kicks in. For now, Peavy will throw his fastball a few mph slower than he's accustomed to.

"The last few starts was a grind physically, said Peavy, who was moved off his scheduled Sunday start to Tuesday in Kansas City. "I don't think that was any secret if you watched. I'm looking forward to getting pushed back and getting back on my feet.''

The Sox beat the Tigers 8-2 on Friday night. Before the game, Peavy admitted that his relief outing against the Nationals on June 25 took something out of him. He said he was going on adrenaline and passed up the opportunity for an extra day of rest after that 55-pitch effort on his side day. His ERA is 7.72 ERA since then.

"I may have been riding a little high after the relief effort and wanted to pitch a couple more times," Peavy said. "I thought my body and arm would respond better than it did.''

Peavy said his arm was "about 70 percent maybe" in his last few starts.

"When you're arm's like that, not only your fastball but breaking stuff isn't sharp, they roll, nothing's effective,'' he said. "When you're trying to piece things together--as a reliever, you can piece together an inning or two--when you start and you go through a lineup 3-4 times, you can't do it without some good fortune, when you had the stuff I had. It was totally my call and I was excited to do it, but I need to understand my body was taxed. Won us a couple of games, but lost us a couple after that. We all got together and made a good decision in pushing me back and trying to get me back to where I was before those last three starts.''

A shortage of arm strength also makes a pitcher less effective command-wise, Peavy said.

"Of course, no doubt about it,'' he said, "because you try to mix and match. Do I go less is more and try to push through? It's a big difference. My body wasn't responding. On my Day 5 I felt like I was on Day 3. That's part of the injury process. Twelve to 18 months everybody's told me, I'm at 12 months now. From 10 months on I was doing things probably that most people thought couldn't have been done. At times I've felt as if I was never hurt. But at times I've gotten on a rigorous schedule and tried to do more than I ever have in my career.''

Phil Humber will start Sunday in the series finale against the Tigers. Mark Buehrle, Peavy and John Danks are probables for the Royals series next week, although Danks, coming off the DL, isn't official.

Konerko an All-Star; wins final vote

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White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko is an American League All-Star.

For the fifth time in his career and for the first time via the online Fan Vote for the final position player spot on the roster, Konerko was selected Thursday with more than 8.4 million votes.

The voting closed on Thursday with Konerko getting more votes than Tigers designated hitter-catch Vic Martinez, who finished second. Royals left fielder Alex Gordon, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones and Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist were also on the ballot.

The All-Star Game is Tuesday in Phoenix, where Konerko makes his home. Konerko entered the Sox' game against the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday night with a .319 average, 64 RBI and 22 homers. He had a .961 OPS and .572 slugging percentage.

"I'm happy,'' Konerko said before the Sox hosted the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field. "I think you always want to go to the game if you can. It's a good time and something you always remember. It's a special thing, especially growing up watching the games on TV.

"Had I not won the vote or whatever, I still enjoy the break and the rest for those four days. But if you have a chance to go, you only have one time through this thing as far as your career so I need a chance to go play in something like that. For me, I don't think you ever play long enough or do enough where going to the All-Star Game isn't a big deal. It's always a big deal.''

Teammate Carlos Quentin was named to the team on Sunday. The right fielder was not in the lineup because of a recent slump and his 0-for-17 lifetime numbers against Twins starter Carl Pavano.

Konerko led for most of the balloting period that opened Sunday and closed at 3 p.m. Thursday, but Martinez closed the gap on Thursday.

This was the third time Konerko was on the fan ballot and the second time in the last two seasons.

White Sox sign first draft pick Walker

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The White Sox' first pick in the draft, fleet center fielder Keenyn Walker of Central Arizona Junior College, reached an agreement with the team on Tuesday.

Walker was drafted 47th, in the supplemental round. The Sox did not have a first-round choice, but Walker received the first-round treatment with a U.S. Cellular Field tour, media interviews and throwing out the first pitch before the Sox' 5-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals.

"It feels great," said Walker, who signed for $795,000. "I've been dreaming about it since I was a little kid and to finally be signed and ready to go out and play feels good."

Walker, who had 65 stolen bases in 63 games, projects as a leadoff-type hitter. He'll report to Advanced Rookie League Great Falls (Mont.) and be in the lineup Saturday, scouting director Doug Laumann said.

"I think we'd be unrealistic to say that he can move [up the chain] like some of the guys we've had the last few years, but we do have the need," Laumann said. "We're still real confident in [outfielder] Jared Mitchell [drafted first in 2009]. They're similar-type players and we think they both have the chance to be center fielders, top of the order guys and that's what we're looking at for Keenyn. Now we've got two of them, so it's not a bad problem to have."

"He's a talented kid. The ability that he has to make contact and to run and play defense puts him a little ahead of the curve because he's going to be able to contribute even if his bat struggles at times. The fact that he's a switch-hitter, sometimes when you're a young hitter, the hardest thing fore that young hitter to do, especially when you're hitting right-handed, is handle that tough, hard slider, a pitch you don't see a lot in college or in high school. That adjustment for him doesn't really exist because of being a switch-hitter, he's hitting from the left side so he doesn't really have the difficulty with that pitch.''

Walker was drafted twice previously, including once by the Cubs. He said his knowledge of the Sox was limited before the draft.

"I catch a couple games every now and then, and on SportsCenter,'' he said. "But before the White Sox drafted me, I didn't know that much. I grew up an Angels fan. Just because the Angels were right around the corner from me. I saw all the people that are playing for the Angels now, like Erick Aybar, Torii Hunter and all them. I just focused on the Angels. But now that I'm with the White Sox, I'll focus on them a little more."

Quentin only White Sox selected to AL All-Star team

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White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin was chosen as a reserve on the American League All-Star team, it was announced on Sunday.

First baseman Paul Konerko was not selected, but has a chance to make it by way of fan balloting.
Starting pitcher Philip Humber was not chosen for the All-Star Game, which will be played in Phoenix on July 12.

Quentin ranks among AL leaders in extra-base hits (third with 40), doubles (fourth with 23) and home runs (sixth with 17). It's the second time Quentin has been named.

"It's unexpected, honestly,'' Quentin said before the Sox played the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Sunday. "They told me, and I was shocked. I thank the players that showed me enough respect to vote for me. That means a lot to me. At the same time, to be honest, the guy carrying this team offensively all year was Paul Konerko. There are some mixed feelings there. There's some hope that he gets added. I hope the powers that be can do that. He's the man on this team."

The Sox have already started the campaign to get Konerko, one of five AL players in fan voting that is now open and runs through Thursday at 3 p.m., to be selected for the fifth time in his career. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski wore a "Paul-Star" T-shirt during batting practice.

Konerko is batting .317 with 21 homers, 62 RBI and a .954 OPS. He ranks in the top five in the AL in those categories.

Konerko said he was not shocked or surprised that he wasn't named Sunday.

"I've been around long enough to know how it goes,'' he said. "This is a tough process because you have the fan vote, the player vote, every team is going to be represented. When you really start to look at it there are guys with some really good numbers out there that get left off, especially when it's your own team it doesn't make sense like a guy like Phil. But when you crunch it all down, you can see how tough it is to get everybody in who's done well. I've been down that road before.''

White Sox closer Santos at his best right now

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White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has been impressed watching Sergio Santos save 18 games in 20 opportunities, but his three perfect innings with six strikeouts for three saves Wednesday through Friday was an eye-opener.

"Cubs and Colorado, that's the best I've seen him throw,'' Guillen said Saturday. "I think this kid is going to be better. His breaking ball is going to be better. His stuff is going to increase. He's going to get a chance to make a lot of money as a closer. He has the right mentality. He has the right stuff. He has learned to throw stirkes. He has everything [going] for him.

Santos, who has allowed one earned run on two hits with 16 strikeouts in his last eight games, was expected to get a needed day of rest, although before the game he said his arm felt good.

In only his third year as a professional pitcher and second in the majors, the converted shortstop has embraced the role with the demeanor of a collected veteran.

"The best thing he has is his mental [approach],'' Guillen said. "He has good stuff, but the approach to after the game is great. During the game, every closer is going to be the same. The different thing is who handles it better after the game, good or bad.

"I know he won't stay like the way he's pitching right now, because nobody is that good. But he has a chance to be pretty good.''

Morel cleaning things up around third base

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Brent Morel's defense was the major reason he was given the starting third base job coming out of spring training. Then the rookie made six errors in his first 27 games.

Morel was steady during the month of June and has made more than his share of difficult plays. Friday's game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field was his 30th in a row without an error.

"Thank you,'' Morel said when told that his defense has not gone unnoticed. "I'm feeling good, getting my work in early and it's translating over to my play in the game,'' he said.

Morel was on the front end of two of the Sox' three double plays that were turned in the first three innings Saturday, although the Sox caught a break on the DP in the second when second baseman Gordon Beckham appeared to be off the bag. Cubs manager Mike Quade argued and was ejected after the play.

Morel went into Saturday's game against the Cubs with a .251 average, and, because of only two walks, a team-low .265 on-base percentage among position players. He walked for the third time this season against Cubs starter Matt Garza in the first inning.

"I've always had a lower total of walks,'' Morel said before the game. "I'm low walk, low strikeout guy. It's nothing I am too worried about. If I get more comfortable and have better at-bats, I'm sure they'll come.''

Morel likes batting second, he said, because Juan Pierre has been getting on base more puts pressure on pitchers and having the middle of the lineup behind him should give him better pitches to hit. With Pierre on the run from first base in the sixth inning, he completed the hit-and-run execution with a single to right field.

"I'm not changing my approach too much [batting second],'' he said. "I don't think where you hit in the lineup matters too much.''

"He's doing more than we thought he was going to do,'' Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He's played great third base, learning the process. The reason I put him batting second, I think this kid can be a good second hitter in the future because he can move the ball around. He can do a lot of things well at the top of the lineup.

"Too bad we not hitting as a club the way we thought we going to hit but this kid's got a chance to be a pretty good ball player.''

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