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

April 2013 Archives

Sox get outfielder Casper Wells in trade

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One month into the season, the White Sox found themselves short on right-handed hitters after injuries to Dayan Viciedo, Gordon Beckham and Jeff Keppinger. Addressing an unexpected need, general manager Rick Hahn acquired outfielder Casper Wells from the Oakland A's in exchange for cash considerations on Monday.

To make room for Wells on the 40-man roster, the Sox returned left-hander Leyson Septimo from his injury rehabilitation assignment at AAA Charlotte and transferred him to the 60-day disabled list.

Wells, 28, has bounced around with Seattle's,Toronto's and Oakland's organizations already this year.

Wells is a career .244 hitter with 25 home runs and 80 RBI in 244 games over four major-league seasons with Detroit (2010-11), Seattle (2011-12) and the A's (2013). He has appeared in 112 games in right field, 83 in left and 24 in center.

Wells owns a lifetime .261 average and .345 on-base and percentage against left-handers.

The Sox have room on their 25-man roster after moving outfielder Blake Tekotte after Sunday's game.

Septimo, 27, was placed on the 15-day disabled list on March 26 with a left shoulder strain.

Errors continue to be costly for the White Sox, who committed two on Sunday, one of them leading to two unearned runs in the eighth inning of the 8-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
The runs scored when Alex Rios dropped a sinking fly ball in short right field off the bat of Ryan Roberts with the bases loaded and two out.
``It was a long way to run,'' manager Robin Ventura said. ``It wasn't an easy play. He just didn't get it.''
But Ventura said mistakes will prevent the Sox from putting together extended winning streaks.
``It's one of those where it's going to happen, but if we're going to get on an extended streak, you have to make those plays,'' he said.
After the game, the Sox optioned outfielder Blake Tekotte to Class AAA Charlotte. They will recall a player Tuesday when they open a three-game series in Texas.



Bo Jackson will hold football coaching clinics June 8 and 9 at the Bo Jackson Elite Sports Complex,17130 S. Prime Blvd., Lockport. The clinics will have former NFL players and coaches as featured speakers.
The former White Sox outfielder and NFL star is a former Heisman Trophy winner and the first athlete to be named an All-Star in two major sports.
Jackson will announce details of the clinics Wednesday at a news conference in Chicago.


The White Sox would have had enough to deal with Saturday facing Tampa Bay Rays star left hander Matt Moore, the major league leader in ERA.
But losing to Moore and the Rays 10-4 and the end of their three-game win streak became secondary to the loss of starter Gavin Floyd to an elbow injury.
``He has a strain right now, but it's one of those looking more like a DL stint like he had last year,'' manager Robin Ventura said. ``It keeps coming,'' he said of the Sox mounding injury list. ``You have to find a way to keep going.''
Floyd left the game in the third after two outs and having thrown one strike to Evan Longoria, walking off the mound with trainer Herm Schneider and Ventura.
The injury is described as a strain of the flexor muscle in his right elbow--the same injury he had last August and caused 15 days on the disabled list.
It was the second time he was sidelined last season with elbow problems, going on the disabled list in July with elbow tendinitis.
The Sox will turn to lefty Hector Santiago to take Floyd's spot in the rotation, Santiago working 3 2/3 innings after Floyd left on Saturday.
The Sox will recall righthander Deunte Heath from Class AAA Charlotte to take Santiago's role in middle relief.
``You hope [Floyd] is healthy and comes back soon, but it looks like I'll fill in for a few starts,'' Santiago said. ``It seems every day something happens and someone goes down, but it's part of the game and you have to keep going.''
The Sox already have five players sidelined, with worries about infielder Jeff Keppinger's ailing back also continuing.
``You just keep going. You have no choice,'' Ventura said. ``You find another guy and keep going. It's disappointing not to have guys you think will be there for you, but they don't stop the schedule. You just keep going.'
Floyd took the loss to drop to 0-4 and go through his first winless April. In his four starts, he has received eight runs of support.
The Rays pounded out 19 hits while Moore and four relievers struck out 14, a season high for the team.
Moore (5-0) was the dominating pitcher getting nine strikeouts, including six straight in the first and second after walking leadoff man Alejandro De Aza.
He became the fifth pitcher age 23 or younger since 1980 to win five games by the end of April and tied his club's franchise record for victories in one month.
Moore leads the majors in opponent batting average (.120) and has a major league best 1.13 ERA.
He also won his last start last season, also at U.S. Cellular Field.
Adam Dunn's solo home run (fifth) in the fourth was the first hit off Moore and the only run for the Sox until the eighth when they scored three in the eighth off Kyle Farnsworth.
``Moore looked good last year, too,'' Ventura said of the 23-year-old lefty. ``Nothing looks the same from him because he changes your eye level, goes in and out, changes speeds. He does everything.''
Ventura said Santiago's 3 2/3 innings should be enough to ``stretch him out'' for Floyd's next scheduled start. Monday's off day also will help the rotation get extra rest.
Santiago was hit hard, allowing 10 hits and giving up four runs.
``You try to stretch him out to get him used to it,'' Ventura said. ``That was a lot for him from where he was and now where he's [going]. Hopefully that's enough for him because I don't necessarily want to give him any more work [before starting.]''
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Gavin Floyd's strained flexor muscle near the right elbow isn't in the same location as the strain that disabled him last year. But it is close to it and will require at least as much time off (15 days or more) to treat.
``I don't know the details. They just said when they looked at the MRI that the part I strained last year looked pretty normal,'' he said Sunday. ``That's the positive. It's just further back and it's inflamed and aggravated.''
But the injury is a concern because it has reoccurred and because elbow issues always are a worry for pitchers.
``It looks like it will be at least two weeks,'' manager Robin Ventura said.
``It's baseball that makes these things happen,'' he said of the elbow problem. ``It's an unnatural motion [to throw]. But it's just part of the playing baseball.''
Floyd said he felt discomfort after making a pitch Saturday to Ben Zobrist in the third. He retired Zobrist on a ground ball but after throwing one pitch to Evan Longoria, catcher Tyler Flowers went to the mound.
``I was like `I'm going to try to pitch through it,' I threw a couple more and it was just getting worse and stiffening,'' he said. ``I threw one pitch to Longoria and felt like I was babying it and started protecting myself. Tyler knew and came out to talk to me.
``It's very disappointing,'' he said of the recurring injury. ``Any time you have something like this, it's out of your control. You try to prevent these as much as possible with work and stretching, and when it happens there's always that processing of things.
``It happens. Now you just have to put in the work to get back to health and get back out there.''


White Sox starter Gavin Floyd left the game suddenly in the third inning Saturday after getting two outs and throwing one strike to Tampa Bay Rays batter Evan Longoria.
Floyd's injury is a right elbow flexor strain, officials said. The right hander had elbow problems last year as well and spent time on the disabled list.
Floyd trailed 2-0 after a first-inning, two-run home run by Ben Zobrist. He got out of a jam in the second when the Rays put two men on base with a single and walk.
Floyd summoned catcher Tyler Flowers to the mound after throwing one pitch to Longoria, then manager Robin Ventura and trainer Herm Schneider also came out. Floyd left having thrown 47 pitches.

Jake Peavy is about as close to no maintenance as it can get for a manager.
The veteran White Sox righthander and former Cy Young Award winner doesn't need instruction on how to attack hitters when he doesn't have his best stuff.
He is the sure-handed extra glove a defense craves because he is a Gold Glove winner.
And if things get rocky, he is likely to be the one who finds a smooth air lane for the team.
``I don't know if there's a day you just take off [as a manager], and every day is different,'' Robin Ventura said as Peavy and the Sox won their third straight with a 5-4 victory over Tampa Bay. ``But you feel confident when a guy like Jake goes out.
``He is in control and he's done it a lot in his career, managing games and getting through them sometimes without his best stuff. You know you're getting a competitor.''
Peavy was sound with the glove in the second, covering first base after James Loney doubled and took third on the out, then striking out Jose Molina to end the inning.
No one could get to Matt Joyce's ball that sailed out in the third, or to Evan Longoria's homer leading the two-run fourth.
But homers worked in Peavy's favor, too, with Hector Gimenez (first career) and Tyler Greene's two-run homer (first) off Roberto Hernandez (1-4) lifting the Sox back from a 3-0 hole.
``When you fall behind 3-0, you know you have your work cut out, but on the other hand, what better way for the team to show character,'' said Peavy, who worked 6 2/3 innings of six-hit ball with one walk and six strikeouts.
``As bad as things have gone early, with the bad (3-7) road trip, you have to give us credit. This club isn't panicking.''
Gratifying, too, was how the bench players came through.
``The biggest thing for us is we have to use our whole team,'' Peavy said. ``We're not Detroit. We have to have contributions from everybody.''
That was Ventura's assessment as well, seeing the season ahead in what played out.
``You give Hector some at bats and he's done a great job behind the plate--and then Conor and Tyler, who's homer got us ahead,'' Ventura said. ``It's nice to get it from guys who get a shot. It's a big boost.''
The game marked the first time the team had scored five or more runs in back to back games and was the first multi-homer game of the season.
The bullpen delivered again, it's ERA down to 2.11 with opponents hitting only .189.
Closer Addison Reed did go through an extended ninth in his third straight outing before notching his eighth save.
Jose Molina's long drive that hit near the top of the center field wall prompted a review before umpires ruled it not a homer but a double. Molina scored on Joyce's two-out single. Ryan Roberts walked before Reed struck out Ben Zobrist to end the game.
``It's a job that's pass-fail,'' Ventura said of the closer role. ``Tonight it was pass.
``It's hard to have him get in that situation and not let him get out of it,'' Ventura said of staying with his young pitcher. ``There might be times you find if he's had a lot [of appearances] in a row you go with someone else, but the job is his.''
That's how Reed wants it.
``Everything felt the same as the two other days,'' he said. ``I want to be out there every day. If it's a save opportunity tomorrow, I want to be out there.''

Needing the pines

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Getting bench production is key for any team, but it is turning into a need for the White Sox as injuries occur.
Jeff Keppinger wasn't available again Saturday because of continuing back soreness. Manager Robin Ventura couldn't rule out the disabled list.
``Anything's possible. Herm [Schneider, trainer] will let me know it it's going in that direction,'' he said.
Ventura said the Sox are likely to recall a lefthanded hitter to bolster the bench for now.
``At least we have people to come up and do the job. You're getting guys from Class AAA who can play and you know you're going to end up using them. Right now just seems to be a time where we're got a lot of guys who are hurt. We're using guys from the minor leagues who fortunately we've seen in spring training and they feel comfortable coming up here.''
The roster already includes recent call-ups Jordan Danks, Blake Tekotte and Tyler Greene.
Greene delivered in a big way Friday with the go-ahead two-run homer starting at second base.
``It was special. It was my first start [at home], so I was excited,'' he said.
Back up catcher Hector Gimenez also homered Friday in a night for the bench.
``It's all about team effort,'' Gimenez said. ``We are here to play and to look for wins. It's not about me. It's not about somebody else. It's all about the whole team. As long as we win, we're all happy.''

READY TO REHAB
John Danks is ready for a minor league rehab assignment after a sound outing Friday at extended spring training. ``It's time for him to get out and hopefully it keeps being a step closer to being ready to pitch and being healthy,'' Ventura said.


Any positive sign that Adam Dunn's bat is coming around is a good sign for the White Sox.
``He's swinging better and I like him in that [clean up] spot,'' manager Robin Ventura repeated Friday. ``If he walks or is having good at-bats and gets on base with Paulie [Konerko] and [Conor] Gillaspie coming up behind him, he can be dangerous, or he'll give [Alex] Rios good pitches to see, so it's a good spot for him.''
Dunn still was batting around .100, with only three hits in his last 50 at bats.
But Dunn's demeanor always has been positive during his slumps.
``As far as what we get inside the clubhouse as a teammate, he's about as good as it gets,'' Ventura said. ``He's upbeat and just wants to win. That part is never in question.
``But we're playing baseball, and it's about what goes on out here [on the field] and what we're doing, so you make decisions based on that, too.''

TWTW, coming to a Sox gift shop near you

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Ken Harrelson took his disdain for sabermetrics to the airwaves during a lively debate with MLB Network host Brian Kenny on Thursday, and within minutes the White Sox were pushing a Hawk acronym he said is far more valuable than any crunched number or statistical analysis in baseball.

"TWTW, the will to win," the Sox broadcaster said. "You can't put numbers on those things."

Harrelson also said that "sabermetrics got a lot of people fired."

After the old-school Harrelson sat in the White Sox dugout at U.S. Cellular Field doing the interview with Kenny, a strong proponent of using metrics in baseball, "TWTW" appeared in big, bold letters on the ballpark video screen while the Sox took batting practice.

Workers in the ballpark gift shops said they had heard something about "TWTW" T-shirts and asked a reporter what TWTW stood for, but the shirts weren't available in the stores before Thursday's game.

Sox outfielder Alex Rios and pitcher Donnie Veal tweeted references to TWTW after the Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 5-2 on Thursday night.


Sale, Dunn better as White Sox defeat Rays

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Rays White Sox Baseba_Van .jpg
Chris Sale (right) greets Adam Dunn after Dunn's homer gave the Sox a 5-2 lead. AP photo

Chris Sale regrouped to finish with with seven strong innings after issuing four early walks, Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer, and the Sox scored three runs in an inning for the first time without the benefit of a homer to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-2 on Thursday night.

The win was the second in a row for the Sox (9-12), who will try for their first three-game winning streak with Jake Peavy pitching against the Rays (10-12) on Friday night.

Sale pitched seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He struck out seven and walked four. Evan Longoria singled in a run in the first and Jose Lobaton hit his first homer with two outs in the fourth for the Rays.

"I'm just trying to build,'' said Sale (2-2), who lowered his ERA to 4.09 while winning for the first time since Opening Day. "I'm just trying to get better with each and every outing. I wouldn't say there's anything different that I'm doing. Just trying to push forward and stay on the same track.''

Matt Lindstrom pitched a perfect eighth inning and Addison Reed a scoreless ninth for his seventh save in as many opportunities. Reed's ERA is 0.90.

Doubles by Alejandro De Aza and Jeff Keppinger (RBI), a walk to Alex Rios, an RBI single by Paul Konerko and a sacrifice fly by Conor Gillaspie produced three runs in the first inning.

The Sox waited till the sixth to score via the homer when Dunn, who had shown signs of life with three walks Wednesday and two hard-hit outs his first at-bats Thursday, homered with Rios (walk) on to give Sale a 5-2 lead. Dunn was 2-for-46 in his previous 12 games.

"Late in the game, you give Chris a three-run lead, we kind of like our chances,'' Dunn said. "It was good timing. We were able to keep it moving early and whenever you give your ace a lead early, you have a pretty good chance to win.

"It's hard to sit here and tell everybody that I feel good when the results aren't there. But I do feel good. I have felt good for the most part of the season. Obviously the results aren't where I want them, but it's been a pretty good two days. You just try to build on it.''

Said manager Robin Ventura of seeing Dunn hit his fourth homer, all at home: "You keep working at it, keep grinding. Tonight was a step forward as far as he is feeling comfortable in what he's trying to do. Hits a ball good, a line drive the other way, finally gets one and gets it.''

Kepppinger, who had his third consecutive multi-hit game, was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored against the team he played for last season. Rios singled and walked two times and scored two runs.

Keppinger made a mistake at second base in the first out, failing to get the lead runner at second on a routine grounder. He was probably thinking about getting double play and instead let Ryan Robers advance to second, from where he scored on Evan Longoria's single.

Mistakes such as those have piled up for the Sox in their slow start.

"Yeah, that's one where you can nitpick,'' Ventura said. "When you win it's easier to critique that and go through that. When you lose those are the ones that keep you up at night. Again, you have to make sure you do those things right and eventually that turns. As far as the way everything is going, the last couple nights you're playing the way you want to play.''

The White Sox will offer youth summer camps throughout the Chicago area again this year through the Bulls/Sox Academy.. Programs are available for boys and girls from age five to twelve at every ability level. The camps are designed to improve fundamentals while having fun at the same time.
New this year, every participant in the baseball camp program will receive a 30" regulation Louisville Slugger wooden baseball bat as well as a U.S. Cellular Field experience, six free White Sox ticket vouchers, a Bulls/Sox Academy hat, 20th Anniversary summer camp t-shirt and graduation certificate. Participants will receive a skills evaluation report and all baseball campers will compete in the White Sox Skills Competition. The top thirty overall qualifiers in each age group will compete at our Champions Day event at U.S. Cellular Field in September.
Information is available at www.BullsSoxAcademy.com.


The White Sox hitting woes continued Monday, garnering only four hits off Cleveland starter Justin Masterson (4-1) in a 3-2 loss.
But it was defense that ultimately cost them the game in the eighth when a Matt Thornton (0-1) pickoff throw to second went awry, leading the way to two runs.
``Until you clean it up, you're going to lose games,'' manager Robin Ventura said. ``It's that simple.''
Thornton's pickoff throw attempting to get Drew Stubbs at second was the13th in 19 games.
``You make that one mistake and at this level, it will hurt you,'' Ventura said. ``You can work on it [in drills] but you have to execute it.''
The Sox were without a hit in the sixth, seventh and eighth before Conor Gillaspie singled in the ninth off Chris Perez (third save).
The Sox led 2-1 until the eighth, their runs coming on Gillaspie's first homer of the season and an RBI double by Hector Gimenez in the fourth.
Gimenez left the game in the seventh after being hit by a pitch in the left shin but was okay after the game.
``It's fine. I'll be ready to play,'' he said.
The loss was the fourth straight for the Sox, who are in the American League Central cellar.
``It's a little frustrating, but we need to come with a positive attitude every day and be ready to work,'' Gimenez said.
``It's just unfortunate we're in a little bit of a rut,'' said starter Dylan Axelrod, who allowed only three hits through six innings. ``We'll turn it around. It's baseball. It happens.'

Armchair scout

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Gordon Beckham spent a lot of time watching his teammates on television in the days after his surgery last week to remove the broken hamate bone in his left hand.
``It's tough watching and listening [because] there's nothing you can do about it,'' he said. ``You obviously want to be playing.''
Beckham tried being a scout of sorts.
``I'm paying attention to some stuff I can try to help out [with], like look at the other pitcher and see what he's doing,'' he said. ``But just to keep my head in it, that's the most important thing for me, and continuing to watch at-bats and have simulated at-bats in my head. Keeping my head in it is going to help the transition.'' Beckham would like to be back in action in four weeks, but the likelihood is six weeks before he is healed from surgery to remove the broken hamate bone in his left hand.
``It's frustrating because my body feels fine,'' he said Monday, one week after the surgery and back with the team. ``I'm walking around and doing everything, but probably picking up a bat would not be good, obviously. But I'm going to do everything that the guys are going. I'm going to run around in batting practice and do some stuff.
Beckham also will work with trainer Herm Schneider on a rehab regimen.

Gavin Floyd had his best outing of the season Sunday, but the White Sox bullpen that had been so reliable let him down in the seventh.
A four-run inning off Matt Lindstrom--who had his scoreless inning streak of eight innings snapped--and Donnie Veal led to a 5-3 victory for the Minnesota Twins, giving them a sweep of the rain-shortened two-game series.
The Sox have lost nine of their last 12 and fell into last place in the American League Central behind Cleveland.
``It's just one of those [games] where every guy has a walk or you give them a little life by putting a guy on,'' manager Robin Ventura said of the seventh. ``It's going to happen on occasion.''
Lindstrom (1-1) walked the first batter he faced, Trevor Plouffe, then gave up a pair of singles. Veal entered with two outs but walked Joe Mauer to load the bases. Jesse Crain gave up a bases clearing double to Josh Willingham.
Floyd worked through six innings, giving up a run on three hits, striking out six and walking three. He left with a 2-1 lead.
``It's a bittersweet thing. You're happy you did well and not happy the team lost,'' he said.
``He had a good game and you take a positive out of that,'' Ventura said.


SHAKE IT UP
Ventura isn't opposed to shaking up the lineup if the offense sputters.
``You have more flexibility when you have guys on the disabled list,'' he said. ``I have no problem doing that.''
He kept struggling Adam Dunn in the lineup against lefthander Scott Diamond, who struck out Dunn twice.
But Dunn homered in the seventh off Josh Roenicke, ending his career-worst stretch of 31 hitless at-bats.
He struck out again in his last at-bat against Glen Perkins (fifth save).
``For us to turn around and start playing better, he's going to have to get some hits and be part of that--part of the answer,'' Ventura said.
The Sox had five hits Sunday, with Alejandro De Aza getting a double and single, Tyler Flowers and Paul Konerko each with singles.
Jeff Keppinger drove in two runs with a ground out and sacrifice fly.
``Today we were doing at least some small stuff, with Kep knocking them in from third. But it's got to be extended,'' Ventura said.

PERFECT ANNIVERSARY
Sunday was the year anniversary of Philip Humber's perfect game in Seattle. It was the 21st perfect game in major league history at the time and the first of three thrown last season in Major League Baseball. It was the third perfect game in Sox history, with Mark Buehrle (July 23, 2009) and Charlie Robertson (April 30, 1922) the others.
Humber is now with Houston.
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Even Keppinger's hits turn into outs

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Twins White Sox Baseb_Van .jpg

By Mark Potash


White Sox infielder Jeff Keppinger, a career .285 hitter, is hitting .159 after going 0-for-5 against the Twins on Saturday. His luck is bad, even his hits are turning into outs.

With Tyler Flowers on first base with a leadoff walk and one out in the third inning, Keppinger hit a sinking liner to center field that dropped in front of Aaron Hicks. But Flowers ''misread'' the ball, was caught too close to first base and was forced at second for a fielder's choice.

''I didn't exactly do that textbook,'' Flowers admitted. ''I read it as he hit the ball hard. The center fielder is very fast. He came flying in and then he started kind of cruising and putting his glove up. I felt like I was farther off the bag.

''I felt like I misread it initially. And then I misread it again and didn't have time to recover. Moral of the story is, I should have gotten out there, stopped and saw what happened and then gone whichever direction.''


KEPPINGER'S RUT

Keppinger said he feels fine, but could use a tune-up.

''There's obviously something wrong with my swing,'' he said. ''I'm finding the barrel with the ball. I'm either popping them up or rolling tem over. I'm not hitting line drives or hard ground balls like I normally do. I'm dipping my back shoulder a little bit. my hands are dropping a little bit instead of staying on top of the ball.''


ON THE SPOT

Keppinger has played first base in 34 games during his nine-year big-league career. So he was in a tough spot in the 10th inning when he was handcuffed by Alexei Ramirez's low throw that got away, allowing Ryan Doumit to score the tie-breaking run.

Not only that, but because Ramirez doesn't speak English, Keppinger was the go-to guy for an explanation of what went wrong. Some guys just can't buy a break.

''At that time of the day, where the shadow is and the brightness from the stands in the back, it's not that easy of a ball to read,'' Keppinger said. ''When it's coming in th dirt, it's hard to tell how far in front of you it is -- if it's going to be an easy pick or an in between hop or a long hop. At that moment in time, that's what I felt was the right thing to do and I tried to pick it.''

LAW OF AVERAGES?

Here's how bad the Sox's luck was running Saturday. Or maybe it was the law of averages catching up with Jake Peavy. Twins left fielder Josh Willingham was 0-for-16 against Peavy when Willingham singled to score Brian Dozier with the tying run in the third inning.

''You face a guy like Josh Willingham, who hit 30 home runs and hits .270, I dont' care who you are he's going to get some hits off you,'' Peavy said. ''I knew I had good numbers against him going in. But he's a professional and got a big hit for them.''


PEAVY TAKES THE BLAME

Peavy (2-1 after a no-decision) gutted out seven strong innings, allowing one run on six hits, with four walks and nine strikeouts to lower his ERA from 3.93 to 3.20. If not for a bad sixth inning against the Nationals, when he allowed four runs in one-third of an inning, Peavy would have a 1.80 ERA this season. Last April he was 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA in April.

But, the bulldog that he is, he took little solace in pitching well in defeat.

''I could have not given up that one there in the third [inning]. It would have saved us a game,'' Peavy said. ''Hard fought game. Tough conditions. It was cold. Got colder as the game went on. Hard to stay loose. And I didn't have very good stuff today. The ball was moving a little bit, but the command was not what you expect it to be. But we battled. We had a chance to win. But just couldn't finish.''

Viciedo placed on 15-day disabled list

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The White Sox placed left fielder Dayan Viciedo on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a strained left oblique and recalled outfielder Blake Tekotte from AAA Charlotte.

Viciedo suffered the strain during his last at-bat on Thursday in Toronto. He is batting .229 but had shown signs of improving with seven hits in his previous 14 at-bats, including three doubles.

Tekotte, 25, was acquired by the Sox from San Diego in a trade for pitcher Brandon Kloess in November. He played 30 games for the Padres in 2011 and '12, batting .163 over 49 at-bats with one RBI.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura had plenty of reasons to want to come home Friday, starting with a 3-7 road trip that left the team with a 7-9 record overall and nursing physical wounds.
U.S. Cellular Field, where the Sox are 4-2, would have looked good even in the cold, though the weather led to a postponement of Friday's opener against the Minnesota Twins.
The difference in the road Sox and the home Sox is an example of a team with a strange dichotomy as the season begins.
They hit home runs but don't hit with men on base.
They pitch well at the back end of games but have had their problems with starters.
The offense is having problems getting on track while the defense that led the majors in 2012 is sputtering near the bottom of the league.
ODD OFFENSE:
The Sox rank fourth in the American League in home runs (19), but the long ball has accounted for 30 of the team's 57 total runs. It's because the Sox are hitting only .177 (17-96) with runners in scoring position. That was a strength for last season's Sox, who ranked fifth in hitting with runners in scoring position (.272). It contributed to 748 runs scored, fourth best in the league.
The Sox as a team are hitting only .234, with the early going particularly tough on some expected run producers--Adam Dunn (.105, two home runs, five RBI); Dayan Viciedo (.229, two homers, five RBI) and Tyler Flowers (.205, three homers, seven RBI).
But Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez are having a hot April. Rios is hitting .344 while ranking in the top 10 in several offensive categories, including homers (tied for third with five), slugging percentage (fourth at .684) and steals (tied for eighth with three.)
``That's why he's batting third,'' Ventura said. ``He was that way last year. He's a very good player and does a lot of things for us [including] playing great outfield.''
Ramirez is having the best April of his career, hitting .327 compared to his career .222 for the month.
The loss of second baseman Gordon Beckham (hamate bone surgery) has hurt the offense, as it has the defense. Beckham was hitting .316 when he suffered the injury in the first game of the road trip against the Washington Nationals.

IMPERFECT PITCH
The Sox bullpen in general, and closer Addison Reed in particular, has done well.
The relief corps leads the league with a 1.74 ERA and a .177 opponents batting average. Reed has a 1.29 ERA with a 1-0 record and perfect five-for-five mark in saves.
The starters continue to post quality starts--getting into the later innings of games--but have had to work in many close games (16 of the team's 14 games have been decided by three or less runs.)
Gavin Floyd has had the most difficulties (6.32 ERA, .344 opponents batting average) while Jose Quintana has sparkled (2.55 ERA, .209 opponents batting average.)

GETTING DEFENSIVE:
The Sox were the best defensive team in baseball last season, leading all teams with a .9883 mark (just ahead of the Seattle Mariners at .9880). Their 70 errors were the fewest in baseball and also set a new franchise record. As a result, the team allowed the fewest unearned runs (30) in the majors.
But defense is hurting so far in April, with the Sox tied at 11th in the league. They already have committed 13 errors in 16 games contributing to seven unearned runs.

NOTES: Dayan Viciedo will be day to day for now after suffering a left oblique strain Thursday in Toronto. He was receiving treatment Friday.
--Ventura will push back the starters in the wake of Friday's cancelation, with Jake Peavy (2-1, 3.41 ERA) to start Saturday opposing Vance Worley (0-2, 10.50 ERA). Floyd (0-3, 6.32 ERA) will pitch Sunday against lefthander Scott Diamond (0-1, 8.31 ERA).
---Friday's canceled game was the sixth postponement because of cold weather in U.S. Cellular Field history. The last was also against the Twins on April 10, 2008.
No makeup date was set.
Fans holding tickets to Friday's game should retain them until a makeup date is determined.
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Friday's game between the White Sox and Minnesota Twins has been canceled because of cold and windy condtions. A make-up date will be scheduled later.
Fans with tickets and parking coupons should keep them until a make-up game is determined.
The postponement because of cold is the sixth in U.S Cellular Field history, the last on April 10, 2008 also against the Twins.

Jays defeat White Sox, gain series split

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TORONTO -- The White Sox were no match for R.A. Dickey, and couldn't do much more with the Blue Jays bullpen.

Dickey pitched six innings of scoreless, two-hit ball before leaving with back and neck stiffness, and the Jays stole three bases on Chris Sale and capitalized on errors by Sale and first baseman Adam Dunn in a 3-1 victory on Thursday night.

The loss gave the Sox (7-9) a 2-2 split in their series that capped a 10-game road trip. They were 3-7 on the trip that started in Washington and continued in Cleveland.

Sale's problems defending the Jays running game led to Toronto's first two runs. Leadoff man Rajai Davis singled in the first, stole second on a strikeout pitch to Melky Cabrera, and on the first pitch to J.P. Arencibia Davis stole third even though Jeff Keppinger was straddling second base. Sale struck out Arencibia and eventually struck out the side but not before Edwin Encarnacion singled Davis home with two out.

In the fifth, Sale hit Emilio Bonifacio in the back leg leading off, then made a wild pickoff attempt allowing Bonifacio to go from first to third. He scored on a chopper by Munenori Kawasaki that Dunn, playing in, misplayed on his backhand for an error.

Davis came up next and doubled to the left-center field wall, scoring Kawaski to make it 3-0.

Sox catcher Tyler Flowers doubled against Jays left Aaron Loup in the eighth to score Alexei Ramirez to account for the Sox only run.

Sox left fielder Dayan Viciedo left the game in the eighth with an apparent injury to his left side.

Toronto's Casey Janssen pitched a perfect ninth for the save.

White Sox' Viciedo leaves game with injury

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TORONTO -- Dayan Viciedo left the White Sox game against the Toronto Blue Jays with an apparent injury to his left side on Thursday night.

The Sox left field swung and missed at a 1-0 pitch from Esmil Rogers during the eighth inning and placed his hand on his lower left side. He walked off under his own power and was replaced by Jordan Danks, who finished the at-bat and struck out.

Viciedo was 1-for-2 in the game after going 3-for-4 in Wednesday's 7-0 Sox victory against the Jays. He is 7-for-14 over his last four games.

The Jays led 3-0 in the eighth inning.

Jays starter R.A. Dickey left after six innings with a stiff neck and back.

Sox starter Chris Sale allowed three runs on four hits.

Flowers, Quintana lead Sox past Jays 7-0

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TORONTO -- Tyler Flowers hit a three-run homer, and Alex Rios cranked out a long solo shot to support the rock-solid pitching from left-hander Jose Quintana as the White Sox defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 7-0 for their second straight victory on Wednesday night.

Quintana (1-0) pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings as the Sox also won for the third time in their last four games. Sox lety Chris Sale pitches against the Jays' R.A Dickey on Thursday night with a chance to even the Sox' record at .500 and give them a 4-6 road trip after an 0-5 start.

Jesse Crain pitched 1 1/3 innings and Donnie Veal pitched the ninth as the Sox shut out the Jays in Toronto for the first time since June 1, 2007.

Flowers hit a 421-foot shot to right-center field his first at-bat against lefty J.A. Happ, the blast coming on the heels of a 1-for-28 slump. He was benched in favor of switch-hitting Hector Gimenez Tuesday and went to work with hitting coach Jeff Manto, opening his stance slightly. He also singled and scored a run in the seventh, finishing the night at 2-for-4.

"For him it's just trying to get more comfortable,'' manager Robin Ventura said before the game. "He's opened up a little bit just to clear himself. It's just more of him trying to find the comfort in being able to survive and do the things you need to do [as an everyday player].''

Rios' homer leading off the sixth, also against Happ, carried 438 feet. It gave the Sox a 5-0 lead.

The Sox scored their fourth run in the fourth inning when Paul Konerko doubled leading off and scored on a two-out double by Alexei Ramirez (2-for-3). Konerko is on a five-game hitting streak.

Jeff Keppinger and Konerko hit sacrifice flies in the seventh, extending the Sox lead to 7-0.

The Jays were again without slugger Jose Bautista, who has missed the entire series with a stiff back.

Jordan Danks recalled from AAA Charlotte

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TORONTO -- After sending right-hander Deunte Heath back to AAA Charlotte, the White Sox brought up outfielder Jordan Danks on Wednesday.

Danks, the 26-year-old younger brother of pitcher John Danks, was batting .333 (17-51) with two home runs, five RBI and nine runs scored in 13 games. He played in 50 games for the Sox last season, hitting .224 with a walk-off home run and four RBI.

Danks, who will wear uniform No. 20, had a strong finish during spring training after a poor start. He is considered one of the top defensive outfielders in the Sox organization. Danks is a left-handed hitter.

Santiago a valuable piece in White Sox pen

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Hector Santiago has pitched in five games without allowing a run. AP

TORONTO - Hector Santiago smiled when he heard what Robin Ventura called him. Another year, another handle.

"Last year, I was a chameleon,'' Santiago said after his latest stellar contribution, a five-up, five-down relief pitching job against the Toronto Blue Jays in the White Sox' 4-3 win on Tuesday night.

"He's kind of like a Swiss Army Knife,'' Ventura said of the 25-year-old left-hander. "He's a little bit of everything. He has closed, he's been in between, a lefty guy, a long guy, a starter. There's a lot of different ways you can use him. But again, when he comes in the biggest thing is he's effective and gets the job done. How we use him from this point forward, he's probably forcing your hand to use him a little more.''

Santiago was the Opening Day closer in 2012 whose future probably exists in starting. For now, he's in between, a luxury for Ventura because of his ability to give a little more than one-inning appearances. He hasn't allowed a run, pitching as many as three innings in his first outing and more than one in four of five.

"He has good stuff and he throws strikes,'' Ventura said. "He gets a lot of swings and misses for a guy who throws a fastball.

"Even though he came into camp as a starter, his personality and the way he views himself, he can do a lot of different things. He comes in a game with a lot of energy, which is great.''

When John Danks was left behind in camp to build up arm strength as he climbs back from shoulder surgery, the void in the rotation was filled by Dylan Axelrod, a strike-thrower who has no decisions but has two good starts against Felix Hernandez and Josh Johnson. Santiago was the other option, a higher ceiling alternative because he has better stuff and a larger assortment of pitches. Just ask backup catcher Hector Gimenez, who put down the fingers Tuesday.

"He said I have too many pitches [to remember],'' Santiago said.

The Sox had too many pitchers, 13, after Gordon Beckham went on the disabled list and right-hander Deunte Heath was called up from AAA Charlotte to provide an extra arm in a bullpen that had been worked hard too early. Heath returned to Charlotte Wednesday, and outfielder Jordan Danks joined the team.

"We're back even getting and feeling like we have a bullpen where we feel guys are not overextended,'' Ventura said Tuesday night. "Just to even out your options with backup guys and making moves. It's one of those where we felt we needed to do it for that stretch. Now we're back to 12."

The Sox bullpen owns a 1.86 ERA, thanks in large part to the "Swiss Army Knife" who is happy to play the good soldier and do whatever Ventura asks.

"You feel safe with getting Hector in there in big spots,'' Ventura said. "Down by one, he can get you back in a game.''

Heath sent back to AAA Charlotte

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TORONTO -- The White Sox returned right-hander Deunte Heath to AAA Charlotte after Tuesday night's game and will bring up a position player to take his place Wednesday.

The move trims the number of pitchers on the Sox' staff to 12. The Sox will likely expand their bench with the addition of left-handed hitting outfielder Jordan Danks.

Axelrod up to tall tasks for White Sox

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TORONTO -- Dylan Axelrod is still looking for his first win, but the White Sox are 2-1 in games the fifth starter has pitched, so there 'ya go.

The Sox beat the Mariners and former Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez on April 6. After Axelrod's poor start in Washington on Thursday, he delivered six strong innings against the Toronto Blue Jays in a matchup with Josh Johnson. The Sox won 4-3 for their second victory in eight games on a their 10-game road trip.

"Axe again, it's one of those where you see him going up against the last couple guys ... stuff-wise, and he continues to pitch and get outs,'' manager Robin Ventura said. "It gives us an opportunity to finally get to Johnson so he battled."

Ventura was saying that Axelrod's stuff doesn't compare to Johnson's or Hernandez's, but he spots the ball when he's on and gets the most of what he has to work with stuff-wise. Axelrod knew what he was up against in Johnson and was aware the Sox needed a win.

"For morale's sake in here,'' he said.

Aside from giving up solo home runs to J.P Arencibia and Colby Rasmus, Axelrod allowed five other hits and one walk to go with four strikeouts. Johnson gave up two runs on four hits, striking out eight and walking two over seven innings.

"He's a good one,'' Axelrod said. "Obviously it's going to be tough getting runs. My goal is to have a quality start, keep us in it. And we pulled it out at the end.

"I felt like I executed well. They got me for a couple of solo home runs. I barely missed my spots on them and they made it count.''

Axelrod was caught by backup catcher Hector Gimenez, whose sacrifice fly in the ninth was the Sox' second run of the inning and turned out to be the difference in the game. It scored Paul Konerko.

"Hector did a great job behind the plate mixing it up,'' Axelrod said. "My curve ball was good, throwing it over for strikes. Keeping them off balance with fastballs up and changing speeds.''

Hector Santiago, Matt Lindstrom and Addison Reed (one run allowed, fifth save) did the rest. The bullpen has a 1.86 ERA, which ranks second in the American League.

"They've been lights out,'' Axelrod said. "I just wanted to have a quality start, have us in it. I figure we're going to keep it there whenever it may be when I came out.''

White Sox hold on for 4-3 victory over Jays

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TORONTO -- Dayan Viciedo doubled in pinch runner Dewayne Wise with the go-ahead run in the ninth, Hector Gimenez tacked on another run with a sacrifice fly, and the White Sox held on for a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.

The Sox, winning for the second time in seven games on their current road trip, needed both runs in the ninth. Closer Addison Reed, converting for the fifth time in five save attempts, allowed two singles to open the ninth and a sacrifice fly by Brett Lawrie to cut Toronto's deficit to one run.

Reed then retired Rajai Davis and Maicer Izturis on fly outs to left to end the game.

Viciedo's double, a liner to deep center, followed walks by Jays reliever Steve Delabar to Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko, only the 20th and 21st walks of the season. Gimenez's sacrifice fly against lefty Darren Oliver scored a sliding Konerko to give the Sox a two-run lead. It was the third run scored for Konerko on the night.

Konerko hit a 3-0 pitch from Josh Johnson for a home run in the seventh inning against starter Josh Johnson to pull the Sox into a 2-2 tie.

Konerko singled in the second inning and scored on a two-out wild pitch to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. The Jays got solo homers from Colby Rasmus and J.P. Arencibia in the second and sixth innings against Sox starter Dylan Axelrod.

Axelrod pitched six innings, allowing seven hits, two runs, one walk and striking out four. He was replaced by lefty Hector Santiago in the seventh. Santiago retired all five batters he faced.

Dunn 'not worried' about early results

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Adam Dunn has two homers and a double in the Sox' first 13 games. AP

TORONTO -- Adam Dunn says it's too early for him to worry about the results. He feels good at the plate, and that's his indication that everything is OK.

Dunn's numbers suggest something else: A .128 batting average and .180 on-base percentage dragged down by an unusually number -- for him -- of walks. A selective power hitter who usually sits among baseball's leaders in home runs, strikeouts and walks, Dunn has walked only two times. That probably stems from his plan to be more aggressive early in counts and not pass on good pitches to hit.

So far, it's not working too well. Dunn is 6-for-47 with two homers and a double. He does feel comfortable and has had a fair share of well-hit outs and "just missed" squaring up a number of good pitches to hit.

"I do feel good,'' Dunn said Monday. "I don't put a lot of stock in what happens early on, good or bad. I go by how I feel and I feel good. I'm seeing the ball good and the balls I'm putting in play are on the barrel with no results, but I feel good so I'm not worried about it.''

Dunn isn't the only Sox not drawing walks. They are last in the major leagues with 18 walks.

The Sox (5-8) resume a 10-game road trip tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays. After a 4-2 start at home, they were swept in three games by the Washington Nationals, lost two of three to the Cleveland Indians and lost the opener of a four-game series against the Blue Jays on Monday night.White Sox Nationals B_Van (3).jpg

Buehrle, Blue Jays defeat White Sox 4-3

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TORONTO -- Former White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle had the upper hand against his former team on Monday night, providing a vintage Buehrle start over 6 1/3 innings and leading the Toronto Blue Jays to a 4-3 victory at the Rogers Centre.

Winning for the first time as a Jay after two subpar outings that resulted in no-decisions, Buehrle started slow but finished well to hand the Sox their sixth loss in seven games on their current road trip.

J.P. Arencibia and Macier Izturis each hit home runs against Sox starter Gavin Floyd (0-3), who could not finish the fifth inning. Floyd gave up nine hits, including five for extra bases.

Paul Konerko had three battles with his former teammate Buehrle, winning the first, tying the second and losing the third. Konerko singled sharply to left field in the first, driving in a run to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. The single was the visitors' third in a row, following Jeff Keppinger and Alex Rios. With two outs, Dayan Viciedo broke an 0-for-12 streak with a broken-bat single to left that scored Rios from second to make it 2-0.

After the Jays (6-7) went in front 4-2 by scoring two in the first, one in the second and one in the fourth against Floyd, the Sox (5-8) put Buehrle into a jam in the fifth. Tyler Greene, playing his first game for the Sox since being called up from AAA Charlotte, singled for the second time in as many at-bats before leadoff man Alejandro De Aza singled to put runners at first and second. But Keppinger rolled into a double plaly, and after Rios walked, Buehrle struck out Konerko on a 3-2 pitch.

Buehrle, making his third start for the Jays and first career start against the Sox after 12 years in Chicago and one with the Marlins, left in the seventh with one out and one runner on base to a standing ovation from a crowd of 15,755.

Viciedo got out of his slump with a 3-for-4 night but Tyler Flowers, went 0-for-4 and has one hit in 28 at-bats. Ventura has tried to get Flowers going offensively the last two days, first with a hit-and-run attempt that backfired Sunday in Cleveland and Monday giving him the green light on a 3-0 pitch with a runner on first and two outs in the sixth. Flowers popped to short right against Buehrle on that one.
Flowers had a chance to tie the score in the eighth after Alexei Ramirez's sacrifice fly made it 4-3. With pinch runner Dewayne Wise on third and two outs, Flowers struck out on three pitches against lefty Aaron Loup.

Casey Janssen pitched a perfect ninth for the save. He struck out pinch hitter Conor Gillaspie and De Aza and got Keppinger on a grounder to short.

Buehrle gave up nine hits, walked two and struck out three.

Dunn at first again; Konerko at DH

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TORONTO -- Adam Dunn played his fourth straight game at first base with Paul Konerko at designated hitter.

The trend stems from Konerko, 37, staying out of the cold in Cleveland and off the artificial surface at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. While neither is Gold Glove caliber, Konerko is better at digging balls out of the dirt while Dunn is more active and probably has a little more range, although Emilio Bonifocio's liner to his left went off his glove for a double in the first inning.

"I think there is a lot of good in getting out there,'' Dunn said. "With my personality, it's good for me to be out interacting with people as opposed to just sitting around. It's easier because you don't have to sit and think about hitting. You have to throw it out of your head and pay attention to defense.''

Especially with Jake Peavy, one of his closer friends on the team, Dunn said he suggests pitches and locations to throw.

Konerko singled in one of two Sox runs in the first against former teammate Mark Buehrle.

"We have the cool relationship, where he likes me to do that once in a while,'' Dunn said. " 'Get it up, get it in there [inside] if you're going to get it in there. Don't freaking leave it over the middle.''

Against left-hander Mark Buehrle, Konerko moved up to fourth with Dunn dropping to fifth.

Konerko, Peavy lead White Sox to 3-1 victory

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CLEVELAND -- Jake Peavy pitched seven strong innings, and Paul Konerko and Alejandro De Aza hit home runs to give the White Sox a 3-1 victory against the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.

Konerko's two-out, two-run homer in the sixth inning against Brett Myers provided a lead and De Aza homered in the eighth against Vinnie Pestano.

Addison Reed pitched a scoreless ninth for his fourth save in as many chances.

The result snapped a five-game losing streak for the Sox, all on their road trip that started in Washington. The trip concludes with four games in Toronto starting Monday.

After giving up a leadoff homer to Michael Bourn in the first, Peavy was at the top of his game through seven innings, striking out 11 and walking none while giving four singles.

Konerko's homer came after the Sox had put the leadoff man on base four straight times without scoring. In the sixth, Jeff Keppinger reached on an infield error but was wiped out by Alex Rios' double play ground ball. After Adam Dunn walked, Konerko hit a 3-1 pitch from Myers into the left field seats for his second homer of the season.

Keppinger and Rios singled to open the fourth inning, putting runners on first and second with no outs. But Dunn struck out, Konerko flied out to right and Dayan Viciedo flied to short left to kill the inning.


Konerko, White Sox to face Buehrle

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CLEVELAND - The White Sox will face Mark Buehrle Monday night for the first time since he left the club as a free agent after the 2011 season. For Paul Konerko, the at-bats will be strange for "one of the best teammates I've ever had.''

"We'll go out there and we have a job to do but we won't mind when it's over, either,'' Konerko said.

"I'm sure he'll make it humorous. You got to be ready. He might throw an eefus pitch or something like that. He's not afraid to screw around out there.''

"I know Mark. He'll have fun with it. It will be tough to keep a straight face for I'm sure a pitch or two.''

Konerko said he's sure Buehrle still has feelings for the Sox, for whom he pitched 12 seasons and was a fan favorite.

"Most people when they play against their old team, they know it's something they got to do,'' Konerko said. "But it's not something they look forward to. They just want to kind of get it over with.''

Buehrle stayed with former Sox manager Ozzie Guillen by signing the Marlins, then was traded to Toronto on Nov. 19.

Buehrle hasn't lasted more than 5 1/3 innings in two starts, allowing six earned runs against Cleveland and five against Detroit. The Jays won both games, however.

Gavin Floyd will oppose Buehrle on the mound for the Sox.

"Regardless of what happens today, we have to make sure we go out and try to win that ballgame,'' Konerko said. "We've lost a few here so we got to, if we got on track today, let's try to keep on track tomorrow night. If we don't win today, then we really have to get going.''

Konerko said Buehrle was one of the best teammates he's had in his career.

"Just one of those guys that kind of rallies the whole team,'' he said. "As a starting pitcher, sometimes you only see those guys on the days they pitch. They are there but they are not totally involved with everything going on with the team all the time. It's kind of the nature of that job.

"With Mark, he was like one of the position players there every day. On the bench, and with guys constantly. Pulling for guys. And off the field stuff, constantly setting up dinners and outings with guys and that kind of stuff. So really a good team guy, a good clubhouse guy.''

White Sox place Sanchez on DL, call up Greene

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CLEVELAND -- After keeping it quiet for a couple days that Angel Sanchez was unavailable with a low back strain, the Sox placed the backup infielder on the 15-day disabled list and called up 29-year-old Tyler Greene from AAA Charlotte.

Greene was released by the Houston Astros on March 26. To make room on the 40-man roster, left-hander Charlie Leesman was designated for assignment.

A first-round draft choice by the Cardinals in 1005, Greene is a career .224 hitter with 16 home runs, 58 RBI and 28 stolen bases in 266 games over four seasons with St. Louis and Houston. He has played all the infield and outfield positions in the majors.

"We know he's a good player,'' manager Robin Ventura said. "He can play infield, a little bit of outfield in an emergency. We'll find out.''

The Sox signed Greene, who was thought to be a candidate for the Astros starting shortstop job going into spring training, to a minor-league deal on April 4.

"It's been an experience the last couple weeks, going through that at the end of spring training,'' said Greene, who batted .265 (9-34) with no homers and four RBI in eight games with Charlotte. "It was the first time I experienced something like that. Kind of a new thing. I was fortunate, thankful to get hooked up with the White Sox and really excited to be up here."

Leesman was 12-10 with a 2.47 ERA for Charlotte in 2012. He hasn't pitched since offseason surgery on his left knee.

Sale rocked in Cleveland, Sox lose fifth in row

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CLEVELAND -- Chris Sale got roughed up for eight runs, and the Cleveland Indians defeated the White Sox 9-4 on Saturday. The loss was the fifth in a row for the Sox, all on a 10-game road trip that began with a three-game sweep in Washington.

Sale was unable to finish the fifth inning, leaving with Cleveland leading 7-2. Deunte Heath relieved him and allowed a homer to Yan Gomes with his first pitch, making it 9-2.

Alejandro De Aza hit a two-run homer, his second of the year, to cut the Sox lead to 9-4 in the seventh.

Sale allowed a two-run homer to Nick Swisher in the first inning and a grand slam to Mark Reynolds in the fifth. After Reynolds' slam, Sale hit Michael Brantley on the back leg. Both dugouts were issued warnings by plate umpire by Ed Hickox.

"You watch the video of it and he seemed to be in the middle of the plate a lot,'' Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Not much difference with his changeup and some of the fastballs he's running in there. You get it over the middle of the plate, and they have some guys who can swing the bat. They didn't miss.''

"Guys were kind of sitting speed more than breaking ball-fastball.''

The last time the Sox lost their first five games on the road was 1972. That team went on to finish 87-67, good for second place in the American League West.

Jake Peavy pitches for the Sox (4-7) against Brett Myers on Sunday.

"We have to figure it out,'' Ventura said. "We have to do better. We kind of had a stretch like this at the end of last year so we might as well do it early in the year and get out of it. You just keep plugging away.''

White Sox pregame notes

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More heavy-jacket weather awaited the White Sox and Robin Ventura Saturday. AP

CLEVELAND - Paul Konerko was the designated hitter and Adam Dunn the first baseman for a second straight game as the White Sox prepared to play the Cleveland Indians at chilly Progressive Field.

Manager Robin Ventura said Konerko struggles to stay loose in cold weather and is particularly affected if he leads off an inning after standing in the cold.
"There's no time for him to stretch if he leads off the inning,'' Ventura said.

The Sox lineup behind Chris Sale against right-hander Zach McAllister:

De Aza CF
Keppinger 2B
Rios RF
Dunn 1B
Konerko DH
Ramirez LF
Gillaspie 3B
Ramirez SS
Flowers C

Flying, the Coop

Pitching coach Don Cooper (diverticulitis) flew from his home in Nashville to Chicago, where he will see team doctors. "I don't know if he's feeling that much better but he's glad to be out of the hospital,'' said Ventura, who talked with Cooper before the game Saturday. "He's in some pain and not feeling too good.''
The Sox hope to have Cooper back when they return home Friday to play the Twins.

Twice as nice for Heath

Right-hander Deunte Heath had a nice double surprise on Thursday. His wife and two young children surprised him by driving from home in Atlanta to visit him at AAA Charlotte. Then he got word that he was being called up to join the Sox.
Heath feels fairly comfortable having made two appearances last year and spending spring training with the team. "It helps, big time,'' he said before the game. "This is a good opportunity.''
Heath replaced Chris Sale in the fifth and his first pitch was hit for a home run by Yan Gomes, a two-run shot that gave the Indians a 9-2 lead.

More like it

Acting pitching coach Bobby Thigpen liked how Jose Quintana threw his curve for strikes in hitters counts and worked on both sides of the plate Friday.
"You can't stay one side,'' Thigpen said. "He's actually pretty good opposite arm side into righties -- he can get it in there. He also needs to use his arm side of the plate to get them off that.''
It marked the fourth time Quintana (seven innings, one hit) posted a no-decision despite throwing at least seven scoreless innings.

Toronto matchups

Pitching matchups for four-game series in Toronto: Gavin Floyd vs. Mark Buehrle on Monday, Dylan Axelrod vs. Josh Johnson on Tuesday, Quintana vs. J.A. Happ on Wednesday, Sale vs. R.A. Dickey on Thursday.

Leftovers from Sox 1-0 loss to Indians

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CLEVELAND -- Leftover notes from Sox 1-0 loss to Indians on Friday night.

Paul Konerko extended his hitting streak to four games.

Alex Rios singled off the wall -- and was thrown out by Michael Brantley at second base -- to extend his season-opening hitting streak to nine games.

Every Sox game has been decided by thrree runs or less. The Sox are now 3-3 in one-run games.

The Sox last walk-off 1-0 loss was on Aug. 12, 2009, when Ken Griffey Jr. delivered the game-winning hit in the 14th.

Quintana's 7 scoreless innings wasted; Sox lose

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Jose Quintana's ERA against the Indians is 0.95 over four appearances. AP PHOTO

CLEVELAND -- White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana was close to perfect in seven innings of work.

Justin Masterson was even better.

The Indians right-hander pitched nine scoreless innings, and Cleveland defeated the White Sox 1-0 on Nick Swisher's line single to right against reliever Jesse Crain that scored Michael Bourn from third with two outs in the ninth. It was the Sox' fourth loss in a row.

Quintana, moved back a day to match up against the Indians because of his success against them in 2012, bounced back from a rough outing against the Mariners by allowing one hit, a double by Michael Brantley in the second inning. Quintana also hit Swisher in the fourth.

"I mixed my pitches well,'' Quintana said. "The fastball was there today.''

Masterson (3-0) went two innings further, lowering his ERA to 0.41.

"That's as good as I think I have ever seen him,'' Sox manager Robin Ventura said.

"He was great today and that's the story.''

The Sox had limited chances against him. Alexei Ramirez led off the sixth with a single but was thrown out stealing by catcher Yan Gomes. Conor Gillaspie (2-for-3) led off the eighth with a double but got no farther than third. Ramirez popped out trying to bunt him over for the first out.

"You're not playing for multiple runs, you just need to get somebody on third and have a chance to get someone in there,'' said Ventura, whose team is 9-for-62 with runners in scoring position. "It just didn't happen."

After Matt Thornton pitched a scoreless eighth, Crain started the ninth and gave up a soft double down the left-field line to Bourn with one out. Bourn advanced to third on a ground out.

Quintana, who threw 98 pitches was 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA against Cleveland last season.


White Sox' Konerko defends Quentin

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CLEVELAND -- Paul Konerko staunchly defended his former teammate, Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin, for charging Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke after Quentin was hit by a pitch on Thursday night.

Quentin, who was hit by Greinke twice as a member of the White Sox when Greinke was pitching for the Royals, felt the 3-2 pitch that hit him was intentional.

The Dodgers' Jason Marquis had thrown an 0-2 pitch towards Matt Kemp's head earlier in the game.

"I'm not surprised, no,'' Konerko said of Quentin's reaction. "Like he said if you know the history and you know the pieces of the puzzle, it kind of all makes sense. So, hopefully the people out there don't look at it as an isolated event like it was something that just happened last night.

"I think when you put all the pieces together, you find yourself being on Carlos' side a little bit more when you start seeing ... I think he was three hit by pitches, but if you watch the games I've watched, he's probably had more than five pitches [from Greinke] that have gone over his head.

"So, you know, at some point, it's going to be the last straw and that's what happened.''

Konerko was told that Quentin, who crowds the plate and has been hit 116 times in his career, had never charged the mound before Thursday night.

"Right. So, what does that tell you? I mean, it tells you he knows the game and he knows he's on top of the plate,'' Konerko said. "He knows he doesn't move a lot. So if I heard that, it would be just more evidence of this is something more than just getting hit on a 3-2 pitch that got away. Yeah, I mean, Greinke has well above average control, I mean. Some would say maybe the best control in the game.''

Konerko said he has no way of knowing if it was intentional, "but take into account all the other ones, and again when you are talking about someone who has the best control in the game, and just got $160 million bucks [$147 million for his deal signed with the Dodgers], you know and a lot of that is because of his control, there's got to be more there when balls are getting away that much.

"If he lets one go up in there and it breaks Carlos' hand, they would just say hey, that got away from him. That's part of the game. You know, throwing up in there time and time again and having somebody run out there and break your collarbone, that's part of the game as well because again hitters get hit up in there a lot and that's just coined as part of the game. At some point you have to put your foot down and that's what you saw happen there.''

Konerko had a scary moment last season when Cubs right-hander Jeff Zamardzija hit him in the face with a pitch at Wrigley Field. In Quentin's case with Greinke, Konerko said people need to know the history.

"The problem is after all the other ones, it's a cumulative thing and hopefully guys on the Dodgers -- I know everything was heated last night -- and those guys don't know anything about the White Sox,'' Konerko said. "They don't know anything about the Royals. So hopefully people take time to look at all those and say, 'wait a minute. Let's address this, because I have a feeling if their hitters on their team saw all that, they'd say, 'well this makes a little more sense right now and I'm going to stick up for Carlos.' I'm going to stick up for the hitter most of the time. And I'm definitely sticking up for Carlos, flat-out, because again, it takes one fastball up in there to break a bone and give you a concussion, whatever. Your season is over. It just gets chalked up as it got away. How many times can you let a ball get away from somebody before you go do something. I guess that many. There it is."

White Sox recall right-hander Deunte Heath

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CLEVELAND -- The White Sox recalled right-hander Deunte Heath from AAA Charlotte on Friday and placed second baseman Gordon Beckham on the disabled list.

Beckham, 26, will have surgery early next week for a broken hamate bone on his left hand. He is expected to miss six weeks.

Heath, 27, is 0-0 no runs allowed and six strikeouts over three innings at Charlotte. Last season, Heath was 4-3 with a 1.48 ERA over 67 innings at Charlotte. He pitched in three games for the Sox, allowing one run over two innings in two games.

The Sox have used their bullpen more than desired of late. No starter was able to finish six innings in the recently completed three-game sweep by the Nationals in Washington, and manager Robin Ventura said on Thursday that an extra pitcher would be a possibility with Beckham going down.

Infielder Angel Sanchez, outfielder Dewayne Wise and catcher Hector Gimenez comprise the White Sox bench.

White Sox swept by Nationals

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WASHINGTON -- Dylan Axelrod failed to get through the fourth inning, and the White Sox struggled to hit with runners in scoring position in their 7-4 loss to Washington that completed a three-game sweep for the Nationals.

The Sox were swept in an interleague series for the first time since the Cubs got them in June 2008. The Sox peppered Nationals starter Dan Haren with 10 hits through the first five innings but were 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position in the game. The Sox left 10 runners on base.

Jeff Keppinger, who is taking over at second base for the injured Gordon Beckham, continued to pick up the pace in the series with two singles and a hard line out to center. Keppinger also made a diving stop to his right and threw out Wilson Ramos in the fifth inning. Conor Gillaspie, who will get more time at third base with Keppinger moving off the corner, was 2-for-4.

Adam Dunn doubled in a run in the sixth before Paul Konerko was called out on strikes against Paul Mattheus with runners at second and third and two outs.

Dunn grounded out in the first with Alex Rios on third and struck out in the third with runners on second and third. He also grounded out with runners on second and third and no outs in the fourth.

Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman each drove in two runs for Washington.

Rios (2-for-4 with a walk) extended his hitting streak to 15 games going back to last season with doubles in the first and third innings.

Before the game, the Sox announced that Beckham has a broken hamate bone in his left wrist. He will have surgery and miss six weeks.

The Sox open a three-game series in Cleveland on Friday night.

Beckham out six weeks

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WASHINGTON -- Second baseman Gordon Beckham will undergo surgery early next week for a fractured hamate bone in his left wrist and will be out for six weeks.

"It's frustrating,'' Beckham said. "But it is what it is. We'll get the surgery done and I'll be back.''

Beckham is a rangy, strong-armed infielder who stabilized the Sox defense. And, manager Robin Ventura was liking the way Beckahm, his ninth-place hitter who was swinging the bat coming out of spring training. He was 6-for-19 (.316) in seven games.

"That's the whole thing,'' Ventura said. "You take six weeks and it's like spring training all over again. Especially not being able to swing the bat. That will be the test, being somehow able to maintain it and have that same feel when he comes back.''

"He was making hard contact. Every at-bat it was a tough at-bat.''

Beckham broke the bone taking a swing during his first at-bat Tuesday against the Nationals. He finished the at-bat and played an inning in the field. It's the first time he has broken a bone, he said.

"It's not ideal. The way I was feeling at the plate, and also in the field,'' he said. "There's a lot to be excited about. I think there still is. It just will have to take a little rest time and get going again in June or end of May or whatever and just pick up right where I left off and sprint it out toward October. Hopefully we're still in it and we can do some good things."

The injury means Jeff Keppinger, who was signed to play third base over the off-season and add flexibility in the infield, will play more second base while Conor Gillaspie gets increased time at third base. General manager Rick Hahn will announce a move prior to Friday's game in Cleveland. Possibilities include infielders Steve Tolleson and Brent Morel, or possibly a 13th pitcher.

With Angel Sanchez able to play second base, third and short and winning over Ventura's confidence over the first eight games, an extra pitcher might be something Hahn and Ventura are considering.

"We'll see,'' Hahn said. "We are still talking through some options. The nice part of having flexibility and guys who can do different things is we aren't locked into bringing up a middle infielder per se because we lost a middle infielder.''

Pitching coach Cooper to miss rest of trip

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WASHINGTON -- White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, who has been hospitalized since Tuesday with diverticulitis, will miss the rest of the team's road trip that continues in Cleveland this weekend and Toronto next week.

First-year bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen has assumed Cooper's duties and will continue to sit in the dugout. Organizational pitching coordinator Curt Hasler will join the club to help Mark Salas supervise the Sox bullpen.

Cooper was taken to Inova Hospital in northern Virginia on Tuesday morning, after the team had arrived here on Monday. When he's released he'll go to his home in Nashville to continue his recovery.

Diverticulitis is a common digestive disease which involves the formation of pouches within the bowel wall, typically occuring within the large intestine, or colon. It can be very painful.

Here is the Sox lineup against the Nationals and Dan Haren tonight:

De Aza CF
Keppinger 2B
Rios RF
Dunn LF
Konerko 1B
Ramirez SS
Gillaspie 3B
Flowers C
Axelrod P

Nationals defeat White Sox, Floyd 5-2

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Gavin Floyd started strong but faded against the Nationals. AP PHOTO

WASHINGTON -- Gavin Floyd was wonderful his first time through the Washington Nationals lineup on Wednesday night. The second and third times? Not so good.

That's not going to cut it against one of the better lineups in baseball.

"It's tough to get through them three times,'' Sox manager Robin Ventura said, "but as a starter that's kind of what you need to do to get us to that point, otherwise you wear the bullpen out for the whole trip.''

The Nats scored in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings against Floyd, sending the White Sox right-hander to the showers in the sixth inning and holding on for a 5-2 victory.

Ventura had to call on Nate Jones for the fifth time this season, and Donnie Veal for a fourth appearance. Fifth starter Dylan Axelrod, basically a six-inning pitcher until proven otherwise, has the assignment of preventing a sweep by the Nationals (6-2).

"The starters have to be able to get through that sixth inning,'' Ventura said.

The Sox (4-4) are 0-2 in their series here, which opened a 10-game road trip that continues in Cleveland and Toronto. Floyd struck out seven through four innings, an indication his top-level stuff was good.

"His velocity is fine,'' Ventura said. "Maybe the command he needed to have he didn't have in the middle.

"That's a tough lineup. You can go through it one time, maybe twice, but they're tough that third time through. They score any time but it's the over and over again that gets guys.''

Bryce Harper hit a cut fastball from Floyd "that didn't cut the way I wanted it to'' for a home run, Floyd said, to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning. That tied the score at 1, and Ian Desmond doubled and scored on Danny Espinosa's single to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead.

Desmond tripled leading off the sixth and scored on Espinosa's double. Espinosa scored on Denard Span's single through shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who was playing in to cut off the run but couldn't handle Span's sharply hit one-hopper. That made it 5-2, and starter Jordan Zimmerman pitched a scoreless seventh before the Nats bullpen took care of the rest.

Adam Dunn and Alex Rios drove in the Sox runs by grounding out with runners on third against Zimmerman, who held the Sox to two runs over seven innings.

With runners in scoring position, the Sox were 0-for-5.

"We've had opportunities in a lot of games to jump out to either an early lead or tie some games up or blow a game open with big hits that we really aren't getting right now,'' Dunn said.

"Especially early. We had second and third one out and we only get one. Again, he [Zimmerman] has to make a living too. He's out there battling and he made some good pitches, man. He's pretty good.''

Floyd was good for a while. And then it got away.

"It's something to look at, re-evaluate,'' Floyd said. "Maybe different location would be better. But I felt pretty good out there. Early on, I was cruising and then one hit after the other and tried to keep making pitches.''

White Sox' Beckham hopes to avoid disabled list

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Gordon Beckham won't pick up a bat until Friday. AP PHOTO


WASHINGTON - Jeff Keppinger played second base and Conor Gillaspie was at third for the White Sox on Wednesday night, a look that will become familiar against right-handed pitchers for the near future.

And perhaps for a while longer, unless second baseman Gordon Beckham can avoid going on the disabled list.

His left wrist wrapped heavily in ice, Beckham didn't feel much better the day after he suffered nerve irritation from swinging at a pitch. He can't swing a bat and won't pick one up till Friday.

"It feels better since I woke up but I think tomorrow will be the big test,'' said Beckham, who is taking anti-inflammatories and receiving treatment. "If I wake up and it feels better I think it'll be fine.''

If not, an MRI will likely be done Thursday and possibly a decision about putting Beckham on the disabled list.

"You kind of prepare for it,'' manager Robin Ventura said. "But you hope it doesn't happen.''

Should Beckham be forced to the DL, Steve Tolleson could be brought up from AAA Charlotte. Tolleson, 29, signed as a non-roster invitee to spring training in November, has played in 120 major-league games. The Sox also have backup infielder Angel Sanchez.

"I don't know; that's up to them,'' Beckham said of the DL. "Depending on how it goes the next couple of days we'll know a lot about whether or not it's going to be a five-day thing or longer.

"I'd like to be back on the field as soon as possible. But I don't want to rush this and make it a worse thing for the entire season.''

Beckham had a good spring and was 6-for-19 over the first seven games. He tried to be optimistic.

"It's a little frustrating but it's a minor setback as of right now and I expect to be back out there in a couple of days,'' he said.

Nationals hit 4 homers, defeat White Sox 8-7

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WASHINGTON - A strange thing happened to the White Sox coming out of the starting gate last week. They made seven errors, an American League high.

A team built around pitching and defense, with close to the same unit that led the AL in fielding percentage last season, dropped fly balls, made errant throws, bumped into each other on pop-ups and muffed a routine first baseman-to-the-pitcher-covering ground ball.

The Sox took ran their customary infield practice before the first game of a road series Tuesday and played a clean defensive game until left-hander Donnie Veal's pickoff throw in the seventh inning whizzed past first baseman Paul Konerko, sending Konerko on a 120-foot chase while Steve Lombardozzi dashed from first to third. Lombardozzi scored Washington's seventh run on Jayson Werth's RBI single, and the Nationals won 8-7.

Alex Rios hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth against Rafael Soriano, bringing the Sox to within one. Konerko flied out to center to end the game.

The loss dropped the Sox to 4-3.

Besides Veal's error, the other bad news concerning the Sox defense was that slick-fielding second baseman Gordon Beckham was forced to leave the game with a sore wrist. Beckham grimaced and bent over slightly after swinging and missing at a third strike when he batted against Gio Gonzalez in the second inning. After trainer Herm Schneider checked his wrist, Beckham played the second inning in the field but was replaced by Angel Sanchez in the third.

Beckham is day-to-day.

Beckham, an above average fielder, said little had to be discussed about the team's shaky glove work with the team starting a 10-game road trip.

"There's no panic because of a couple bad games, I promise you,'' he said before the game. "We're too good defensively, we do too many things right. There's no panic just because of a couple bad games. Hands are freezing cold the majority of the time [on the home stand last week], it was so windy Matt Thornton's hat blew into the dugout. It doesn't make any sense.''

This kind of defense Tuesday was much better: Right fielder Alex Rios threw out Bryce Harper and Gonzalez trying to stretch singles into doubles in the first and third innings. Center fielder Alejandro De Aza and Sanchez, who replaced Beckham for three innings, made nice plays, too, and Tyler Flowers caught catcher Wilson Ramos stealing on a strikeout-throw 'm out double play.

"People are going to make mistakes every once in a while,'' Beckham said. "There's been nothing said. Why should they? When you think about it, [the coaching staff] know we're a good defensive team. Why would they start acting like something's wrong when there isn't? If you would have told me I threw it eight feet left of first base I would have told you you were absolutely nuts.''

The Sox looked like they were out of this one before Konerko hit a three-run homer to left in the seventh inning against Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard, a three-run shot with two out that brought the Sox within 6-5. It was the first homer of the year for Konerko, who also walked twice and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.

Sox starter Jake Peavy gave up three homers, to Ian Desmond leading off the fifth, a two-run shot by Werth in the sixth and a two-run shot by Adam La Roche in the sixth that knocked Peavy out of the game.

The homer by La Roche was his first hit of the season. He homered again in the eighth against reliever Matt Thornton.

Peavy was charged with six runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Jeff Keppinger, who had one hit going in, had two singles.

White Sox' Beckham likely out next 2 games

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WASHINGTON -- White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham left Tuesday night's game against the Washington Nationals during the third inning with nerve irritation in his left wrist.

He will likely miss at least two games, he said after the Sox' 8-7 loss.

"It's going to take a couple days,'' Beckham said. "It hurts now just standing here.''

Manager Robin Ventura said Jeff Keppinger would likely play second with Conor Gillaspie playing third on Wednesday night when the Sox play the Nationals in the second game of a three-game series.

"On the 2-1 pitch is when I felt it; I knew something was wrong,'' Beckham said.

Beckham grimaced and bent over slightly after swinging and missing at a third strike when he batted against Gio Gonzalez in the second. Trainer Herm Schneider checked him, and Beckham played the second inning in the field but was replaced by Angel Sanchez in the third.


'Amped' White Sox to open 10-game trip in D.C.

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Dayan Viciedo's homer Sunday capped a 4-2 home stand for the White Sox. AP PHOTO

It didn't take long for the White Sox schedule to take a sharp turn. They open a 10-game road trip in Washington against the Nationals, a fashionable pick by many to win the World Series in October. The improved Indians from the American League Central are next, followed by four games against the beefed-up Toronto Blue Jays.

The road trip starts a stretch of 20 straight games without a break. Right-hander Jake Peavy, who will start against Washington's Gio Gonzalez in the series opener Tuesday, knows the Sox face one of the more testy stretches of the season here in April.

"Getting on the road is always fun,'' Peavy said. "At the same time we're going to face some pretty good baseball teams. Going to Washington, facing the pitching we're going to face, and then ending the trip with four in Toronto. We all know what they have there. The biggest thing is coming out of this road trip with our head above water, not letting things get away from us and having a bad road trip.''

Designated hitter Adam Dunn, who played for the Nationals in 2009 and 2010, said he's looking forward to returning and seeing the sights. And to playing probably one game in left field because the DH won't be in play in this interleague series.

"It's a great place, a great ballpark. I've got a lot of buddies over there,'' Dunn said.

Dunn hasn't taken a lot of fly balls in the outfield. He played left field one game during spring training. It was a last-minute decision, and Dunn scrambled to break in a brand new outfielder's glove before the game.

"The game I played in spring I felt good out there,'' he said. "I didn't feel too weird. I don't know if it's in the plans or not, what day, but I'll get out there and take some while I'm there.''

The Sox (4-2), who took two of three each from Kansas City and Seattle at home, planned to arrive on Monday and watch the NCAA national championship basketball game together as a team. Then it's down to the business of playing 20 straight games, starting with a challenging 10 on the road.

"I'm looking forward to it, oh yeah,'' closer Addison Reed said. "I don't see why anybody wouldn't be. I've never been to Washington so I'm amped up for that. Cleveland is a tough team and Toronto made some key acquisitions, but we don't think we're at a disadvantage to any of those teams.''

WHITE SOX AT NATIONALS

Tuesday: 6:05 p.m., Ch. 26, 670-AM, 97.5 FM
Jake Peavy (1-0, 1.50) vs. Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 0.00)
Wednesday: 6:05, CSN, 670-AM, 97.5 FM
Gavin Floyd (0-1, 3.00) vs. Jordan Zimmerman (1-0, 1.50)
Thursday: 6:05, CSN, 670-AM, 97.5 FM
Dylan Axelrod (0-0, 0.00) vs. Dan Haren (0-1, 13.50)

Viciedo walkoff homer lifts White Sox

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Chris Sale and the Sox are wearing 1983 throwback uniforms Sunday. AP PHOTO


Dayan Viciedo hit the first walkoff home run of his career, a 406-foot shot against Kameron Loe in the 10th inning, to give the White Sox a 4-3 victory against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday aternoon.

Addison Reed pitched a scoreless 10th for his first win.

Alex Rios continued his hot start by belting his third home run of the season, a solo shot against Hisashi Iwakuma in the seventh inning that pulled the White Sox into a 3-3 tie.
The score remained tied through nine innings, sending the teams into extras for the second time in their three-game series.

The homer gave Rios a homer in three consecutive games for the first time in his career.

The homer took Chris Sale off the hook for a possible loss. Kendrys Morales hit his first home run as a Mariner, a solo shot against Sale with one out in the sixth inning to give Seattle a 3-2 lead. Sale pitched seven innings, allowing five hits over seven innings.

Rios' homer broke a string of 16 consecutive Sox retired in order by Iwakuma after Adam Dunn's 427-foot homer to right-center field in the first inning, his second of the year that erased a 2-0 deficit.

Wearing throwback 1983 uniforms as they will on Sundays at home throughout the season, the Sox sent ace Chris Sale to the mound looking to win the rubber game of a three-game series with the Mariners. The Sox beat Mariners ace Felix Hernandez on Saturday.

Sox starters went into the game with a 2.76 ERA their first time through the rotation, a figure that went up when Sale allowed a two-run homer to Mike Morse in the first inning. Morse, who already has five homers, hit a hanging slider with Jason Bay (walk) on first.


Infielder Conor Gillaspie had the perfect conditions Saturday for his first start for the White Sox--a wind-swept day at U.S. Cellular Field playing havoc with balls.
``He wants to be a storm chaser, so it was perfect,'' manager Robin Ventura said.
He was a game-changer this time, delivering a key triple and single, scoring twice and adding a sparkling inning-ending double play in the fifth to highlight the 4-3 victory over Seattle and ace starter Felix Hernandez.
``My passion is weather,'' Gillaspie said. ``It's something I've always been interested it.
``That might be in the top 10 windiest games I've ever played in,'' he said of the conditions that saw a southwest wind gust beyond 25 mph most of the day.
The wind instead of cold a night earlier was a factor all day. It played a role in boosting Michael Saunders' two-run homer over the outfield wall in the eighth off Matt Thornton.
But those were the only runs the Sox bullpen gave up in relief of Dylan Axelrod (one unearned run).
Gillaspie's offense and a two-run homer by Alex Rios off Hernandez (1-1), his second in as many games, gave the victory to Donnie Veal (1-0).
Gillaspie started at third as Ventura changed the lineup for a day game after a night game, moving Jeff Keppinger to first to rest Paul Konerko and starting catcher Hector Gimenez.
``I was kind of nervous,'' said Gillaspie, acquired in spring from San Francisco. ``You can't miss pitches against a guy like [Hernandez]. I got a little lucky and had some pitches I didn't miss.''
The triple came leading the fifth after Gillaspie helped end a Mariners threat in the top of the inning. He grabbed Brenden Ryan's grounder over the third base bag, stepping on it to force Justin Smoak coming from second, then throwing out Ryan.
``It was a chopper right over the bag,'' he said of the defensive play. ``I was leading off the inning and looking for something over the plate. It worked out. I'm glad I contributed.''
Ventura said Gillaspie is likely to play again Sunday.
``He's a tough kid. He plays hard. He has a compact swing with some pop too.''
Rios extended his hitting streak to 10 games dating to last September, and homering back to back from the first time since last July.
``I hit one of [Hernandez'] mistakes and did some damage,'' he said of his sixth inning homer. ``It was a changeup. He wasn't his usual self. He throws usually 94, 95 but he was in the low 90s today.
``The wind was blowing today,'' he added. ``You couldn't predict what the ball would do and how it would react. You just hope to put a good swing on the ball and that it falls.''
-30-

The White Sox bullpen has been stellar in the first week, with a string of 12 scoreless innings pitched.
But when it ended in the 10th inning Friday against the Seattle Mariners, it meant an 8-7 loss for the Sox and the first career loss for Nate Jones (0-1).
The loss came despite a comeback effort by the Sox, who came back from a 6-1 deficit in the fifth to tie the game that went into extra innings.
``The good part of hitting home runs is you can get back into a game pretty quick,'' manager Robin Ventura said of the team's four-run fifth inning fueled by the first homers of the season for Alejandro De Aza and Alex Rios. ``We chipped away. The offense didn't give up all night.''
The Sox threatened in the 10th, scoring once against closer Tom Wilhelmsen (second save) and before loading the bases on two walks and a single with two out. But Tyler Flowers struck out to end the game.
The victory went to Kameron Loe (1-0).
Seattle starter Blake Beavan, who lost his first meeting against the Sox nearly a year ago in Philip Humber's historic perfect game, exited after the fifth still holding a 6-5 lead before the Sox tied the game in the seventh.
That took Sox starter Jose Quintana off the hook after a sub-par four-plus innings and a rocky fifth when he gave up five runs after giving up a leadoff homer to Franklin Gutierrez for an immediate 1-0 hole.
The fifth inning started when Quintana couldn't handle a toss from Paul Konerko, who fielded Dustin Ackley's ground ball. Ackley was safe on the error, starting a rally that saw the Mariners get five straight hits on Quintana's next five pitches.
The Mariners had two doubles and a triple among their six hits in the inning, all scoring before Matt Lindstrom was summoned in relief of Quintana.
``The error changed the inning,'' Quintana said through an interpreter. ``I looked at the tape afterward and some of the pitches were right there but they were right on them.
``I felt comfortable with my command, but there are some things I can do better and I'll work on.''
The game began in temperatures of only 34 degrees and in front of a crowd of 15,312.
The Mariners had played in only 10 games other games since 1988 that started in temperatures less than 40 degrees, though the cold wasn't foreign to the Sox.
``There's nothing you can really do,'' said Konerko, whose single in the fourth gave him sole possession of third place on the Sox all-time hit list with 2,137. ``I'm not big on putting a bunch of stuff on and trying to be warm. I just feel like you have to grit it out.
``It's great when your pitcher throws well becaue you can get off the field and back in the dugout, but you just have to have the mindset that it's going to be three or four hours where it will be touch and you have to grind it out. Both teams have to play in it and I guess that's the old cliché, but early season you're always dealing with that stuff.
``Before long we'll all be complaining about the heat, so that's the way it goes.''
-30-

White Sox' Ventura stands by the sacrifice

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The White Sox scored all of their runs via the homer in their first two games, which manager Robin Ventura isn't opposed to, of course.

The Sox manager knows the long ball can't be the only way. To that end, he tried to manufacture runs in Wednesday's 5-2 win against the Royals by bunting with Alejandro De Aza up and runners on first and second in the eighth inning Wednesday.

De Aza's sacrifice didn't pan out when Tyler Flowers made a poor decision trying to score from third on a pitch that got away from Royals catcher Salvador Perez.

Told that the metrics community is armed with data which shows "giving away outs" with a sacrifice is bad strategy, Ventura said, "Well, they're not sitting in my seat either.''

"There's a lot of those guys out there but they're not sitting in this seat and they're not sitting in this dugout. So it's a different feel when you're a player or a manager than it is just to sit there and right numbers down on a piece of paper."

Ventura said De Aza bunting wasn't a no-brainer but he liked the Sox' chances of scoring with tough-to-strikeout Jeff Keppinger coming up.

"Just looking to extend that, get [the lead] beyond three runs,'' Ventura said. "I don't think any of them were a no-brainer but he [De Aza] does it [bunts] very well. I think anybody does that on our team where you think about if he might get it done, he's not that guy. We have confidence in the guys that are coming up behind him.''

Ventura pushed the concept of scoring runs in ways beyond the homer, but the Sox are a home run hitting team. Only the Yankees and Orioles hit more in the American League.

"We've got to figure out a way to do it,'' Ventura said. "Every season is different. I don't know if the mindset is different with guys but every year is different. I've played on teams that were kind of the same team that came back that one year you're a road team, one year you're a home team, one year you're knocking in runs like that and one year you're a home run team. I like the home runs but I also like those tough runs to be scored, too.''

White Sox' Lindstrom gets first tough assignment out of way

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Matt Lindstrom has worked on a circle changeup the last three spring trainings, and even though he didn't use it to get some big outs in relief on Wednesday, look for the newest member of the White Sox bullpen to show it in the future.

"Just to neutralize left-handers a little better,'' said Lindstrom, who throws a two-seam fastball and slider. "I need something else. Everything I throw is hard.''

Lindstrom got the third out of the seventh inning with the bases loaded, retiring Alcides Escobar on a fly to right.

"I wouldn't say it's getting off to a good start because it's just one appearance but having [manager] Robin's [Ventura] confidence right there bringing me in with the bases loaded and then going back out there to get a tough hitter out [Billy Butler] was nice,'' he said. "I appreciate that. I hope to keep earning that confidence in him.''

Pitching will be a strength for the White Sox this season--but the long ball isn't taking a back seat just yet.
With four home runs Wednesday to key the 5-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals, the Sox had their most in one game since April 23, 2010 against the Seattle Mariners.
And with five homers total in two games--two by catcher Tyler Flowers--the team has seen all its runs come from the long ball.
``It's a little like last year but it's only two games in,'' manager Robin Ventura said. ``I think it will even out. Right now you take it wherever you can get it.''
The homers Wednesday came from Flowers, Adam Dunn, Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez. Flowers' drive leading the third off starter Ervin Santana was significant because it was the second in as many games, but only the third time in his brief career he has homered in back to back games.
``I guess it's good, but I'd be just as happy with line drives right now,'' Flowers said. ``You're just looking for quality at-bats and hits right now.
``The hits and all that stuff, the home runs, that will all take care of itself as long as you focus on every at-bat and get a quality at-bat.''
The Sox had been looking first at Flowers' work behind the plate handling the pitching staff. But his offense has been enough in the early going to help boost his status as A. J. Pierzynski's replacement.
``I think what he's been going through as far as spring training and knowing the expectations of where he's at and knowing he's following A.J., it's nice for him to get off to a good start and hit a couple--and get a base hit, too,'' Ventura said.
The Sox had five players hit at least 25 homers last season in Dunn, Pierzynski, Paul Konerko, Alex Rios and Viciedo. It isn't necessarily what the team will look for this season--but it could be a pleasant surprise for the offense if it happens again.
The Sox had another big hit Wednesday in the form of a double in the sixth by Konerko--significant because it was his 2,136th as a Sox, tying him for third place on the franchise all-time list with Frank Thomas.
``Any time you get mentioned with Frank hitting-wise, it's nice,'' he said. ``He's definitely the best hitter this organization has ever seen and probably will ever see. To be mentioned with him and have a number that's in the same ballpark in any regard is kind of cool.''
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Ware's gruesome injury grim reminder for Ventura

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Robin Ventura endured one of the more unsightly sports injuries as a player during spring training in 1997, a compound fracture and dislocation of his ankle. Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware's gruesome injury brought back bad memories for the White Sox manager.

"Oh yeah, it does,'' Ventura said. "Ironically, the trainer I had with the Mets, Fred Hina, is [Louisville's] trainer. You feel for him. Few people can sit and see an injury or have something happen like that. I know what's going through his head.''

Ventura's injury also affected his leg muscles, and he never returned to full strength. The daily pain from the ankle and leg forced him to use a cane and contributed to Ventura's decision to retire from baseball.

"I think the recovery's the hard part, being able to get your mind around making your way back,'' he said. "[Ware's] pretty young so I think that is in his favor. Again, your heart goes out to him for what he's going through.''

Peavy: White Sox must win something to gain respect

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Jake Peavy starts against the Royals Wednesday. PHOTO BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN


The White Sox are taking different angles on the subject of not being picked by most to make the playoffs. The Sox were in first place for 117 days and finished three games out of first last season, but few see them as serious challengers to the Tigers in the American League Central.

Manager Robin Ventura said he takes it personally and will use that to motivate his team.

Jake Peavy said the only way the Sox will be viewed as a real postseason threat is if they make the postseason.

"You have to earn respect,'' Peavy said. "To be respected as one of the best teams in the league you gotta win, you have to get it done and that's something we haven't done since I've been here.''

Peavy takes the ball on Wednesday for the Sox' second game of the year. He matches up against new Royal Ervin Santana, two days after the Sox and Chris Sale beat the Royals and James Shields 1-0 on Opening Day. The Sox and Royals had an off-day Tuesday.

"It's always fun when you get to take your turn, and I look forward to one of many,'' Peavy said.

Almost three years removed from major surgery to re-attach a torn lat muscle, Peavy has a two-year contract extension in hand and a peaceful feeling about his physical condition.

"I feel as healthy as I have since I've been here,'' he said. "I know you guys are sick of hearing me say that. But I do feel as back as I could be. I do feel like my stuff's a little better than it was last year, so we'll see what that translates into. But it's a nice feeling to have.

"It really is nice. Even last year, you set out to prove that you're healthy even start to start, I'm sure that everybody out there, you guys included, are going when's it gonna happen, the breakdown. I had many, many years of just like last year before I showed up in the shape that I did here in '09. I hope those are behind me now, I do have some mileage, and we don't know what the future holds, but I'm going to do everything I can do to stay healthy. And like I said, I do feel my stuff's a little bit better than it has been at any point in time here. And I hope to fall right in behind Chris and be a top of the rotation guy.''

As for the division and where the Sox will fit in, Peavy knows the Tigers, on paper, are superior. He knows a lot of things have to fall into place for the Sox to challenge them again.

"Obviously the Tigers are the American League champions, they deserve to be who they are,'' Peavy said. "I just saw the power rankings came out, and they're the top-rated team in the American League. The Tigers have no holes. They're a great baseball team. At the same time we know that we can play and compete with the Tigers. That being said, Kansas City, Cleveland, the teams made huge upgrades in our division and we understand that. It's competitive, that's what you want. To be the best, you gotta beat the best. That's cliche, but it's the truth. Everybody in our division's gotten better, we feel like we're better and we set out to prove that today. We got a lot of people who don't believe that, but I promise you there's 25 guys and the front office staff that believe we do have enough talent here to make it happen. Time will tell.''

It's not that the Sox are disrespected, Peavy said.

"I guess you'll get respect when you go out and earn respect. At the end of the day, what we did last year, I don't think it warrants respect. We didn't get it done. We had a chance to get it done and we didn't get it done. You get respect when you do what Detroit did, when you win the division and you win the playoffs. That's what we all want to do here, so until the time comes, you have to earn respect. That's what we're all after here.''

White Sox to host Civil Rights game on Aug. 24

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The seventh annual Civil Rights game will play in Chicago for the first time when the White Sox host the Texas Rangers at U.S Cellular Field on August 24.

While the Sox have played in the game twice, it will be a first for the Rangers.

The game was played in Auto Zone Park in Memphis for the first two years, at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati in 2009 and 2010 and at Turner Field in Atlanta the last two years. The Sox played the New York Mets in 2008 and the Reds in 2009.

Chicago has roots in Negro League history. The Chicago American Giants won championships in 1926 and 1927.

Major League Baseball and the White Sox will make a joint announcement today at U.S. Cellular Field. Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, Hall of Famer and MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Development Frank Robinson, Sox executive vice president Ken Williams and Sox greats Frank Thomas and Minnie Minoso will attend a 1 p.m. press conference.


Opening days haven't been good for the Kansas City Royals, who have lost their last five.
Monday's 1-0 loss to the White Sox was their second straight shutout to open a season, last year falling 5-0 to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
For starter James Shields (0-1), it was his first April loss since April 2, 2011 against Baltimore while a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.
But this Royals team is coming off a franchise-best 25-7 spring training--also the best record in the majors this spring.
``We'll find out if it carries over,'' manager Ned Yost said. ``We had a very, very good spring training. We pitched very well. We swung the bats very well. We played good defense. We're a talented team.
``Defensively, we're very athletic. We can catch the ball. We can turn two. We can run it down in the outfield and throw guys out.
In the infield, we've got guys with range and sure hands.
``The starting rotation is very, very solid. Our bullpen is dynamic and we swing the bats well.
``When you've got talent, that always carries over.''
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Don't suggest to the White Sox that the Kansas City Royals will be a division threat this season.
The Royals already have been royal pains for the Sox for a long time--particularly in 2012 when the Sox lost 12 of the 18 meetings.
In the last two seasons, the Royals have gone 23-13 against the Sox--this by a team that lost 91 and 90 games respectively.
But they underwent some dramatic changes in the off season--including acquiring opening day starter James Shields from Tampa and Wednesday starter Ervin Santana from the Angels--to complement a still-young roster of developing talent.
``Our kids now have all got a year and a half under their belts, which is great experience,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ``Their first full year last year, they went through a lot of ups and downs. And they're all learning experiences. They have matured. They have grown and continue to grow to be very, very solid major league performers.''
The Royals had their best spring, setting a franchise record for victories going 25-7 to lead the majors.
``We'll find out if it carries over,'' Yost said. ``We had a very, very good spring training. We pitched very well. We swung the bats very well. We played good defense. We're a talented team.
``Defensively, we're very athletic. We can catch the ball. We can turn two. We can run it down in the outfield and throw guys out.
In the infield, we've got guys with range and sure hands.
``The starting rotation is very, very solid. Our bullpen is dynamic and we swing the bats well.
``When you've got talent, that always carries over.''
What Yost won't say is what the rest of baseball is saying about his team as an up-and-coming contender.
``Talk about not getting respect,'' Sox pitcher Jake Peavy said of the Royals. ``This team is an outstanding team from top to bottom. Kansas City has one of the best bullpens in baseball. Those young arms, you're going to watch these guys throw late. And when you add a Wade Davis, Ervin Santana and James Shields to your staff, you're talking about major, major upgrades.''
Yost is content to watch what his team does on the field.
``That's for [others] to worry about and write about,' he said of expectations. ``We come out and play baseball and do it to the best of our ability.
``We have a lot of baseball to play. It doesn't matter what anybody thinks or what anybody says. We have to take care of business on the field.''
The roster has only one rookie to start the season, promising catcher Salvador Perez--this from a team that historically has bred great young talent and watched it depart at free agency time.
Most of the team's top prospects were traded in the off-season deals to acquire Shields, Santana and Davis, who also came from Tampa.
``Spring training is long,'' said Yost--who started it requiring gall bladder surgery, though he missed only a day. ``You're happy to get there in the beginning and happy to start the spring training games, and about three-quarters of the way through, you're just longing for this [opening day] where you can play meaningful games. We're all excited this year and ready to go.'
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It was Chris Sale's first Opening Day start. And it was Tyler Flowers' first start as a No. 1 catcher. For the White Sox battery, the script couldn't have been written any better.

Sale pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings and Flowers homered against Royals ace James Shields, and the White Sox held on for a 1-0 victory on Monday.

Addison Reed allowed a walk to Eric Hosmer in the ninth but retired Jeff Francoeur for the last out on a grounder to shortstop Alexei Ramirez after Hosmer stole second.

"It was awesome,'' Sale said of Flowers going deep. "Not only was he there defensively all game, but what better way to win a 1-0 game than to have your partner in crime hit one in the seats.''

Matt Thornton pitched the White Sox out of a jam, striking out cleanup man Mike Moustakas with runners on first and third.

"Thornton came in and probably got the biggest out of the game,'' Sale said.

Sale, who signed a $32.5 million contract extension during spring training, was at the top of his game, striking out seven and walking one while allowing seven hits before leaving in the eighth after throwing 104 pitches.

"He did a good job of keeping his emotions in check; he was excited,'' manager Robin Ventura said. "It's what you expect in a lot of ways. He's a special kid.''

Reliever Nate Jones walked Billy Butler to put two Royals runners on base. Thornton, touching 97 mph with his fastball, then came in to finish the inning.

Flowers' leadoff home run in the fifth inning against Royals right-hander James Shields broke a scoreless tie, giving the White Sox a 1-0 lead. The homer was the first by a Sox catcher on Opening Day since Sandy Alomar Jr. hit one in 2004. Flowers is taking over for A.J. Pierzynski as the No. 1 catcher this season.

Sale was backed by solid defense, including a diving grab by second baseman Gordon Beckham on Lorenzo Cain's liner with a runner on first and no outs in the seventh. Sale then got Jeff Francoeur, who had singled in his first two at-bats, to rap into a 5-4-3 double play started by third baseman Jeff Keppinger and turned by Beckham.

The White Sox and Royals both wasted a scoring opportunity in the first three innings.

The Sox threatened against Shields in the second when Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez singled to put runners on first and second with one out. Flowers, after fouling off four pitches, was called out on a fastball on the inside corner. Gordon Beckham, after getting ahead 3-1 in the count, struck out swinging on a changeup.

Sale got out of a tougher jam in the top of the third after Jeff Francoeur singled to lead off, Alex Gordon walked with one out and Escobar Alcides reached on an infield single behind second base to load the bases. Sale struck out Butler and got Moustakas on pop fly that Beckham caught in short right.

Rick Hahn: 'Our expectations are high'

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Ventura: 'There's more in this team than last year'

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Robin Ventura's expectation for the 2013 Sox is to make the playoffs. AP PHOTO

The White Sox aren't offended that most of the so-called "experts" are picking them second (at best), third or fourth in the American League Central. To a man they understand why the Detroit Tigers are the prohibitive favorite to win the division and the Royals -- who they open the season against Monday at U.S. Cellular Field -- are improved.

But a slight is a slight, and why not use it to push yourself a little harder. Manager Robin Ventura said during spring training he likes it that way, and on Monday he suggested the same.

"There's a little chip,'' Ventura said. "You take that hit and then it becomes personal. It's good for me that it happens to these guys because it's easy to rally them together and have the motivation come after that. But I think the initial hit to it is it becomes personal.''

The Tigers have Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer leading a solid rotation and they have a deep lineup. They are, however, flawed at some positions defensively and enter the season without a closer. So they're not a lock to repeat. They're just the defending American League champions and they have Victor Martinez back and Torii Hunter added to the outfield.

The Sox added Jeff Keppinger and Matt Lindstrom and said goodbye to A.J. Pierzynski, and believe they are a postseason team, Ventura said. The postseason is the goal of most teams, and the "P" word has been spoken in the Sox clubhouse.

"It's been said,'' Ventura said. "Again, I've been on a team where you didn't really expect to get to the playoffs and this is not that team. For us coming in here, there's more potential in this team than we had last year as far as the players and what they do and how good they should be this year. I think they all should have better years than they had last year.

"I think for us you should always come in feeling optimistic. I don't see it, looking at last year that we played above our potential or somebody had a career year. We didn't have anybody win a Triple Crown or anything like that. I think there's more in this team than there was last year.''


"Detroit went to the World Series,'' Ventura said. "You expect that [they're favored] but just because they don't pick you doesn't mean anything. I didn't see a lot of people picking the Giants last year at the beginning of year. So those aren't guarantees. Those are just guesses and there's a lot of people that do that. They look at it and see what they like and you go from there. There's no guarantees and that's the good thing for us is if you go in you can take care of it yourself.''

One thing Ventura can kind of guarantee is that he'll be a better manager than he was his first year when he finished third in AL Manager of the Year voting.

"I think any time you do something a second time around you should be better. Or you're really dumb,'' he said.

The Sox were in first place for 117 days last season and blew a three-game lead in the last two weeks. Ventura's expectation is plain and simple.

"I want to get to the playoffs,'' he said Monday.

Any more than that?

"I'd figure that out when we get there. But that's the first thing that needs to happen.''

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