Dye, Jenks keep eyes on real prize
Cleveland (33-51) at Chicago (43-40), 7:11 p.m. CT
CHICAGO -- Prior to Sunday's announcement of the American League All-Star team, White Sox left-handed setup man Matt Thornton broke down the players from his team who he thought were deserving of the honor.
Thornton didn't include himself, although he pitched well enough in the first half of the 2009 season to warrant consideration.
"There's Bobby [Jenks]. He has brought his ERA down, has 19 saves and is doing a great job. [Jermaine Dye's] numbers are great and [Mark] Buehrle has eight wins [now nine] and a low-three ERA," Thornton said. "They would all be involved in it, but you are a second-place team, and it's tough to take all three from a second-place team."
Apparently, the hard-throwing left-hander has a clear grasp of the All-Star selection process. The White Sox only have Buehrle as their representative, the southpaw who picked up his ninth win in Tuesday night's series opener at home against Cleveland.
Jermaine Dye and Bobby Jenks, two of the most consistent players in the game at their respective positions, will not be making the trip to St. Louis. Dye and his 20 home runs will be heading back to Arizona for the four-day break, while Jenks plans to go somewhere with his family that doesn't involve flying.
Neither player appeared crushed by their exclusion, knowing that a number of deserving players get left behind each year. But they both wondered aloud if possibly talented White Sox players get easily overlooked, even though they are playing in a major media market.
"I think so," Dye said. "You would think in a bigger market you would get more fan votes and more attention. Sometimes, some things can be popularity contests. It's just the way it is."
"To a point, yeah, I definitely would say we get overlooked quite a bit," Jenks said. "It's just one of those things that you have to do the above and beyond over here."
When asked to explain a reason why the White Sox might be a bit short on the respect they deserve, Jenks smiled and said he did not know the answer to that particular question. Jenks did have a quick reply when asked who on his team deserved to be an All-Star, aside from himself and Buehrle, who will be making his fourth trip to the Midsummer Classic.
"[Dye], big time," Jenks said. "Him not making it and then not being on the additional voting [Final Vote], it was kind of a kick in the shins. But there's nothing you can do about it now."
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen had an idea on why Dye, who finished 1-for-4 on Tuesday, isn't a nationally renowned star or household name among a broad base of baseball fans.
"Because Dye is not a trouble maker, Dye is not one of the guys that is in the newspaper for the wrong reason," Guillen said. "If you look around, everybody's in the news because they do something stupid.
"That's why I'm there every day. I said it before, you give me three or four JDs, I'll be the happiest man. He shows up to play and he doesn't give me any problems.
"He's a pro, teaching kids. He's a complete package," Guillen said. "They will recognize him after the season when a few million dollars goes to his pocket. That's all that matters. You don't need to be famous, you need to be rich. That's why people play this game."
So, Dye and Jenks will get themselves ready for the final five games of the first half, starting Wednesday night against the Indians. The same goes for leadoff man Scott Podsednik, who also had All-Star caliber numbers.
And on Tuesday night, Paul Konerko's three-homer effort reminded Guillen that there was another deserving player on his roster. Instead of the All-Star trappings, though, the snubbed White Sox players simply want a few more hits and another win Wednesday.
"You don't go into a season playing to make the All-Star Game," Dye said. "You want to win a World Series. Players have their focus on that, and all the individual stuff is a plus that comes with it. You always know there are going to be guys who should make it that don't get a chance to go."Pitching matchup
CWS: RHP Jose Contreras (3-7, 4.84 ERA)
After two straight losses, Contreras finally got some run support and a win in his last start. In the outing, Contreras pitched eight innings, giving up five hits and two runs while striking out a season-high eight batters and walking one. It was his fourth quality start in five games since returning from a stint in the Minors. The right-hander has posted a 2.17 ERA in those starts, with 29 strikeouts and just five walks. The right-hander will make his second straight start against the Indians on Wednesday, flip-flopping his spot in the rotation with Buehrle. He is 6-2 in 14 appearances (13 starts) with just higher than a 3.00 ERA against the Indians in his career. CLE: LHP Aaron Laffey (3-1, 3.93 ERA)
The Indians will activate Laffey (strained right oblique muscle) from the disabled list after his four Minor League rehab starts. Laffey turned in rough starts for Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus in his last two outings. He was tagged for seven runs on 10 hits in four innings for Columbus on Friday. He said he was roughed up Friday because he was stubborn in trying to find his four-seam fastball. Laffey is taking over Tomo Ohka's rotation spot. Tidbits
The rehab program for Bartolo Colon and his left knee inflammation has him targeted for pitching Thursday at Triple-A Charlotte. The only problem is that the White Sox can't find the burly right-hander. If Colon shows up Thursday for the Knights, then he could be in consideration for a start in the July 24 split doubleheader at Detroit. He has to show up and mix in a few more breaking balls to his repertoire. And if he doesn't show up? "Somebody will take the mound," White Sox general manager Ken Williams said. "This train is going to keep rolling." ... Williams said attendance issues could hamper the White Sox making a move that involves taking on major payroll. "If I'm being completely honest, money is more of an issue now," Williams said. "We expected a little more support than we have gotten. It's a reflection upon the economy what's kind of happened in regard to attendance. And I don't know if we've played consistent enough or been exciting enough for people to get behind us yet. So, we are still hopeful, but yeah, that obviously ... is going to have an impact on what we can and cannot do." ... Buehrle is 6-1 when pitching after a White Sox loss ... Alexei Ramirez is hitting .389 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in his past 14 games. Tickets
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Thursday: White Sox (Clayton Richard, 3-2, 4.75) vs. Indians (David Huff, 4-3, 6.06), 1:05 p.m. CT
Friday: White Sox (John Danks, 7-6, 3.76) at Twins (Francisco Liriano, 4-8, 5.49), 7:10 p.m. CT
Saturday: White Sox (Gavin Floyd, 6-6, 4.33) at Twins (Nick Blackburn, 7-4, 2.94), 6:10 p.m. CT
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.