CHICAGO -- With Jake Peavy nearing a return to the White Sox rotation, manager Ozzie Guillen is fielding daily questions about his plans for Chicago's rotation. The starting staff has been a team strength in the season's early going, so inquiring minds want to know who is going to be bumped to make room for Peavy.Guillen says he's not going to worry about it until Peavy is ready to return. "[I am] just waiting for the days to come up and see what happens," said Guillen. "Right now, I want Jake back. But I don't count on him right away because that's too much to ask." Peavy is scheduled to make a rehab start for Double-A Birmingham on Monday, when he is expected to throw 90-95 pitches. He'll follow that with an outing for Triple-A Charlotte on Saturday. If all goes well, Peavy will be back by the end of the month. "We have to take it little by little and be very smart about the situation," said Guillen. "When he comes back, hopefully he doesn't have another setback. That's why we have to treat this thing very carefully." The club's hope is that after making his rehab starts, Peavy will be able to assume a full-time role in the rotation. "Obviously we have to be aware [of pitch counts]," said Guillen. "But when he comes back, it means he's gotten like four or five starts in the Minor Leagues. He should be ready, good enough to be what we want." The White Sox posted the fifth-best starter ERA so far this season entering Sunday's action. Righty Philip Humber is the likely odd-man out when Peavy returns. However, Humber has pitched well, posting a 2.45 ERA over 11 innings in two starts. Pitching coach Don Cooper has floated the idea of using a six-man rotation to keep the group rested during scheduling crunches, but Guillen said that won't be a regular practice. "No. I would rather have more people in the bullpen than a six-man rotation," said Guillen. "Six-man rotation, not many people do that. Then the six-man rotation goes to seven-man rotation. You never know. But that's pretty tough to do."
Opposition shutting down White Sox sluggers
CHICAGO -- The White Sox looked like an offensive juggernaut when the season opened, scoring 23 runs in their first two games at Cleveland. Things have cooled off for the batsmen the last few days, but Chicago still entered play Sunday second in the American League in runs per game.As for the recent downturn, part of the reason why the White Sox scored just nine runs in their three games entering Sunday was the opposition. Chicago faced a succession of solid starts from Oakland's Brett Anderson and the Angels' duo of Jered Weaver and Tyler Chatwood. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen says his club shouldn't expect that to change. "This is the American League," said Guillen. "With everybody, you've got to go through a good pitching staff. Everybody in this league knows you're not going to win without pitching." Nevertheless, the White Sox aren't used to such tough stretches from scuffling hitters like Paul Konerko, who went into Sunday's game on a 2-for-17 skid, and Carlos Quentin, mired in a 5-for-32 slump. "The last couple of days, we did not swing the bat the way we thought we were going to swing," said Guillen. "We are struggling a little bit at the plate, but hopefully we'll come out of it very soon."
Morel gets a breather; Vizquel starts at third
CHICAGO -- After rookie Brent Morel started 12 of the first 14 games at third base, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen gave Morel the day off against the Angels on Sunday, opting to play 22-year veteran Omar Vizquel at the hot corner.Morel has struggled at the plate this season, hitting .234 in 47 at-bats with just a .298 slugging percentage. He's also committed four of Chicago's 15 errors, which is the second-highest team total in the Majors. Guillen said the decision to sit Morel had as much to do with Sunday's matchups as anything, but he does plan to mix it up at the position a bit over the next few days. "I was thinking about playing [Mark] Teahen today," said Guillen. "He will be playing [against Tampa Bay this week]." As for Sunday's lineup, Guillen said, "The main thing is that I need some defense. [White Sox starter Mark] Buehrle needs the best defense we can [put] back there. "I [also] want to protect Morel a little bit against [Angels starter Dan] Haren."
Too early to worry about upside-down standings
CHICAGO -- The season is just two weeks old, but the American League Central standings are raising more eyebrows than any other division in baseball. The bottom two teams from last season, Cleveland and Kansas City, started play Sunday tied for the division lead with 10-4 records."Kansas City is playing pretty good ball. Cleveland is playing very well," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. "I said [the Indians are tough] when we left Cleveland, and people laughed at me." At the other end of the spectrum, last year's division champion, Minnesota, is in last place and recently placed star catcher Joe Mauer on the disabled list. Regardless of what the standings look like halfway through April, Guillen says it's too early to get worked up. "We never said the American League Central would be easy," said Guillen. "A lot of people picked Minnesota to win for a reason. They're struggling right now like we are, and everything is close. It's too early yet, you don't know what's going on."
Bradford Doolittle is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.