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MIL@CWS: Coaches get into a fight near third base

Though the Brewers and White Sox have played just one regular-season series since 2001, the clubs have history going way back.

Milwaukee hosted some of Chicago's games in County Stadium in 1968 and '69. But once the Brewers came into existence in 1970, transforming from the Seattle Pilots, things took a turn for the worse between Milwaukee and the White Sox.

"That was a heated rivalry, to say the least," said Brewers historian Mario Ziino.

The Brewers and White Sox will revive the rivalry on Friday, beginning a three-game series in Chicago.

Zack Greinke will duel with Chris Sale, a candidate to start for the American League in the 2012 All-Star Game on July 10 in Kansas City.

Sale is 5-0 with a 1.91 ERA in his last six starts. He's been given six or seven days off between starts all season, and while he appreciates the extra rest, Sale said it doesn't make much of a difference to him how much time off he gets.

"Once you grab the ball, everything else is out the window," Sale said. "You just do your job."

Greinke allowed a season-high 11 hits over eight innings in his most recent start, a no-decision against Minnesota on Sunday.

Greinke started a game against the White Sox in Spring Training on April 2, lasting only three innings while allowing five earned runs on five hits. Greinke said he was serving up "meatballs" to Chicago that day.

The Brewers have won four of their last nine games, and each of those five losses were by one run and decided in the last at-bat of the game. Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said last season all those close games seem to go the Brewers' way, and each time those games arose, there was a uniform feeling among the players that they would win them.

The club is still searching for that confident feeling this season.

"That feeling, it changes from year to year. You wouldn't think it would, but it changes," Roenicke said. "Somehow, we need to win these close ballgames so that feeling is always there, that when we get tight, we've got a real good shot to win. We're not there yet. We've had stretches, but we're not there yet as a team to where we feel that way."

Brewers: Axford 'still the guy' for Roenicke
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke hasn't lost confidence in John Axford, despite the closer's recent inconsistency.

Axford has three blown saves in his last five chances, including allowing back-to-back homers in the ninth inning in a 10-9 loss to Toronto on Tuesday. Axford struggled with his command in the loss, forcing him into fastball counts which has plagued the right-hander all season.

Roenicke pointed to Axford's recent heavy workload as a possible reason for his struggles.

"He's scuffling, he is," Roenicke said. "I can't give you an answer why. For a while, it was not pitching enough, and now it's pitching too much. It changes a lot."

• Right-hander Shaun Marcum could be heading to the 15-day disabled list with stiffness in his right elbow that has sidelined him since his most recent start on June 14. An MRI exam of Marcum's elbow -- which he had Tommy John surgery on in 2008 -- showed nothing out of the ordinary.

While Marcum maintains that the injury is nothing serious, the Brewers are considering the option of shelving Marcum and bringing in another arm.

• Ryan Braun enters the three-game series with Chicago with a 25-game hitting streak during Interleague Play. He has a .404 average (40-for-99) with seven home runs and 29 RBIs during the streak, which ties for the fourth longest since Interleague Play began in 1997.

White Sox: Danks to begin rehab program on Friday
Left-hander John Danks, who had been on the DL, retroactive to May 20 with a left shoulder strain, learned this week that he now has a mild Grade 1 strain in his left shoulder.

Tests done showed no tendon or ligament damage, and Danks' labrum is still intact. Danks will begin a rehabilitation and strength program with White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider on Friday, and Danks' progress will be monitored further with diagnostic tests likely next week.

"I wish I had progressed a little further at this point. I kind of expected to be back by now," Danks said. "I just have to listen to my body and do what it says."

• The White Sox rank third in the American League with a .288 batting average with runners in scoring position, including a .354 average in their last 24 games. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski ranks second in the AL with RISP with a .397 average, and first baseman Paul Konerko's .373 RISP average ranks him sixth.

Worth noting
• Konerko is batting .153 (9-for-59) lifetime against Greinke, with 17 strikeouts. Pierzynski, however, owns a .413 (19-for-46) average against Greinke.

• Greinke is 3-2 with a 5.07 ERA in eight starts on the road, and 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA at Miller Park.

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