BALTIMORE -- White Sox closer Bobby Jenks was deemed available for Monday's series finale in Baltimore by manager Ozzie Guillen but ultimately wasn't a part of the 3-2, 10-inning loss to the Orioles.

"Bobby, he told me he can go," Guillen said. "If he's not pitching in the game, he will throw a [side bullpen session]."

Jenks warmed up in the eighth inning but never got into the game.

Jenks last pitched in Detroit on Thursday afternoon, when he allowed a game-tying, two-out home run to Ryan Raburn in the White Sox eventual 6-4 win over the Tigers. He felt tightness in his back Friday, leading to Guillen using J.J. Putz in the closer's role on Saturday.

Guillen did not say in what role Jenks would have be used in if needed Monday. Guillen had said previously that Jenks would need an outing to work his way back into the closer's spot after the nagging back injury.

Beckham eyeing a Wednesday return

BALTIMORE -- Gordon Beckham plans to be back at second base for the White Sox by the time John Danks makes the first pitch of Wednesday night's game against Minnesota at U.S. Cellular Field.

As for Tuesday's important series opener with the Twins, Beckham seemed unsure if his moderate right groin strain would allow him to return after missing Monday night's series finale at Camden Yards.

"I've just got to see how it feels," said Beckham, who termed Monday more as a treatment day then a day to test the injury. "It definitely felt better. I'm a little more sore today than I was yesterday.

"Yesterday it just kind of hurt a little bit. Hopefully I'll be back in there tomorrow."

Beckham suffered the injury while diving to keep Josh Bell's single on the infield in the second inning of Sunday's 4-3 loss. He then jumped up and threw out Jake Fox at the plate. Brent Lillibridge replaced Beckham at second and figures to be there until Beckham returns.

Lateral movement is more of an issue for Beckham than simply running straight. But Beckham and manager Ozzie Guillen agree an extra day of rest for the second baseman is better than rushing him back only to lose him for a few weeks during the playoff push.

"I'd rather sit out another game here to make sure I'm healthy and ready to go the rest of the time," said Beckham, who has hit .386 in his past 25 games to raise his season batting average from .205 to .251. "[Tuesday] might be a little optimistic more than realistic. If not tomorrow, then I would assume Wednesday, for sure."

"With Gordon, I will wait to see how he is moving around and how he feels," Guillen said.

Linebrink ready for whatever's needed

BALTIMORE -- During his past 12 appearances entering Monday's series finale against the Orioles, White Sox reliever Scott Linebrink has given up just one earned run in 12 innings. And the right-handed veteran feels a difference on the mound.

"[White Sox catcher Ramon] Castro kind of confirmed it yesterday," Linebrink said. "He said I had a good downward plane on the fastball.

"I would attribute a lot of it to some mechanical things we've been talking about. I've been getting myself in a better position to throw, [I'm] more balanced. I've been able to be more consistent with my delivery and pitches."

And with that increased consistency, Linebrink hopes the White Sox will count on him for late-inning situations when needed. The right-hander came to the club as one of the game's premier setup men on a four-year, $19 million contract prior to the 2008 campaign. He still feels more than capable of handling that role, and feels fresh with only 37 1/3 innings thrown, although Linebrink understands any inning is a valuable inning in a tight American League Central race.

"First and foremost, that's the key thing. There are no unimportant innings down there," Linebrink said. "I would like to be in the thick of things in the seventh and eighth. But it's just as important to pitch in games being way up and way down and get other guys a rest, too.

"We have been going heavily on [Matt] Thornton, J.J. [Putz] and Bobby [Jenks] and [Sergio] Santos. It's my job to make sure I do my job when I'm called upon so they don't have to do double duty.

"They know who has had heavy workloads and who is well-rested," Linebrink said. "They also know what I can do. I've done it for many years before here and for Ozzie, too. Last year was a hiccup and I look at it as just that. It was something aside from the norm. I've been confident in my abilities and what I'm able to do. Hopefully, that confidence overflows to management as well."

Ozzie: Stretch-run excitement good for game

BALTIMORE -- With eight weeks remaining in the 2010 regular season, tight races still exist for five of Major League Baseball's six division titles and both Wild Card slots. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen thinks this late-season excitement is great for the game.

"Those races and the Wild Card, baseball got better and more interesting with the fans," Guillen said. "It has more stuff to talk about. That's a good thing."

The Orioles, who the White Sox played in Monday's series finale, have something to play for, as Guillen explained, aside from just pride. Their success against the White Sox helps the Twins. The White Sox had the same feeling during the final weekend of the 2009 campaign, winning two of three in Detroit, despite being eliminated, and helping to produce a one-game playoff between the Tigers and Twins.

Every team would love to build a 10-game lead and cruise to the postseason. Being part of this exciting time becomes fun for even the most seasoned of veterans.

"A goal every year coming out of Spring Training is to play meaningful games in September," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "It's what you play for, what you strive for in the big leagues. It's fun."

Third to first

White Sox left fielder Juan Pierre extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a first-inning single off Orioles starter Brian Matusz on Monday. It tied his career high. Pierre finished with two hits in the 4-3 loss ... Matt Thornton made his 22nd straight scoreless appearance, a string of appearances that has covered 18 innings, by striking out the side in the ninth inning Monday. J.J. Putz holds the franchise record at 27 straight scoreless appearances, a mark set this season. ... Monday's 3-2 loss by the White Sox in 10 innings marked the Orioles' first win on a Monday this season. They are 1-8 overall on Mondays.