DETROIT -- With a .988 fielding percentage entering play on Saturday, the White Sox boasted the top team defense in the American League. Part of that success is due to underrated performers such as Paul Konerko at first base and even Carlos Quentin in right field, as well as a solid infield made up of Brent Morel at third, shortstop Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham with his Major League-best .998 fielding percentage at second.
Credit for that infield development goes in part to bench coach Joey Cora, according to White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.
"Joey takes a lot of pride in his job and he takes it very serious when the infielders don't play the game right and he goes after them pretty good," Guillen said. "That's why those guys are learning how to play the game in the big leagues, especially those three kids. They're going to get better with experience and time. They're going to get better with confidence."
Beckham working toward second-half surge
DETROIT -- The key word for the remainder of Gordon Beckham's 2011 season would be patience.
And that's not patience, as in working deeper in the count during every at-bat for the White Sox second baseman. Instead, Beckham is talking about patience held by those who expect the 24-year-old to be a force offensively.
"Hopefully, one year, I'll put it all together. That's the goal," Beckham said. "But let's wait until the end of the year to pass judgment on my season."
Beckham has started to sway judgment in his favor with a .423 average during his present seven-game hitting streak and a .395 average in his last 13 games, raising his average from .226 to .252. His third-inning single began a four-run, five-hit rally against Detroit ace Justin Verlander on Friday, and he singled home a run during a three-run ninth against Jose Valverde during Saturday's 5-0 win.
In July alone, Beckham has four multi-hit games. He had just three for the entire month of June. His early struggles on offense have plagued Beckham for the last two years, but the summer months have been kind to him. It's especially true of July, when Beckham has a career .345 average, with six home runs, 22 doubles and 36 RBIs.
His 2010 average sat as low as .199 on June 23, but he pushed that number up to .257 at the end of August before a hand injury slowed his ascent. Beckham once again believes his finish will be stronger than his start.
"I've been doing what I'm capable of doing, where I'm finally hitting some doubles and stuff like that," said Beckham, a .314 career hitter after the All-Star break. "So, it's turning in my direction. I've always felt more comfortable for some reason during July and August and on through September. So, hopefully, that continues.
"There are times where I've gotten down on myself, just from the standpoint where I'm still not doing what I'm capable. But I know it's a long season and I know where I finished last year going into the second half with a .215 average. I know I can play better in the second half."
'Peaks and valleys' expected with Peavy
DETROIT -- The White Sox had a chance to give Jake Peavy extra rest after he threw 55 pitches during a four-inning, scoreless relief outing against Washington on June 25. Instead, Peavy came back for his June 30 start in Colorado on regular rest, allowing him to make starts against the Royals and the Twins before the end of the first half.
It was a move White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper vehemently defended to MLB.com when questions arose as to why Peavy didn't get that extra day or two after his dominant bullpen debut. It's a move Cooper still staunchly supports, even though Peavy said that his arm didn't bounce back the way he wanted over those last three first-half starts.
"Did we bring him back early? No, we didn't," Cooper told MLB.com on Saturday in Detroit. "He pitched five days later, and in a normal situation. When you have five starters, you are going to have to do that.
"You combine that with a guy that has had the physical history over the last year, and it drained him a bit. In the situation and the spot that he's in, obviously it taxed him more than we wanted to tax him."
Cooper explained that Peavy's season will be filled with "peaks and valleys" naturally coming after surgery to reattach the lat muscle in his right posterior shoulder last July 14. It's a fact that Cooper was resigned to back in Spring Training, with the significant nature of the injury and the procedure probably keeping Peavy from 100 percent until the start of 2012.
By giving Peavy these extra two days coming out of the All-Star break, Cooper and the White Sox are trying to let Peavy regroup physically and provide him the best chance to help the team win.
"Those last two times out, it wasn't exactly what we were looking for," said Cooper of Peavy, who has allowed 10 runs on 16 hits over his last 10 1/3 innings. "We are fighting our way through it and we are using this time to try to gas his tank up a little bit to give us a better opportunity on his day.
"We want to give the players what they want. If you want it that bad, we believe in you, too. In this case here, with Jake, we are going to have to continue to just monitor that situation."
Danks eager to get back to big leagues
DETROIT -- John Danks didn't particularly enjoy his first stint on the disabled list, brought about by a strained right oblique muscle. But he'll be returning to the mound on Wednesday in Kansas City with a feeling of confidence after two solid injury rehab starts for Triple-A Charlotte.
The southpaw felt so good on the mound on Friday night that he added 15 pitches in the bullpen after throwing six scoreless innings against Louisville.
"I went at it like a regular game. I didn't have anything to worry about," Danks said. "Just try to get outs and try to win a game. It felt like I had plenty in the tank. I'm looking forward to getting out on a big league mound and helping us out."
Danks also had the chance to play with his younger brother, Jordan, an outfielder for the Knights who made a couple of nice plays behind him on Friday.
"It was cool," said Danks of being on the same field with Jordan. "I knew how good he was out there, and everyone is talking about how good he was. You like it more when he's making plays behind you."
Third to first
Carlos Quentin snapped a homerless streak of 91 at-bats (105 plate appearances) with his second-inning homer against Max Scherzer in Saturday's 5-0 victory. Quentin collected three hits in back-to-back games for the first time in his career, going 6-for-9 with a homer, four RBIs and two runs scored. The White Sox are 19-12 in their last 31 road games. Juan Pierre has hit in seven straight and moved into sole possession of 28th on the all-time stolen-base list, with two on Saturday giving him 542. Four stolen bases for the White Sox on Saturday matched a season high.