BALTIMORE -- Through Saturday's home start against the Royals, the White Sox will be operating with a six-man starting rotation.
That alignment means rookie Zach Stewart will make his second start for the South Siders on Friday and Jake Peavy will take the mound on Saturday. But with three off-days mixed in from Aug. 15-25, the White Sox are far removed from going back to a permanent six-man setup.
In fact, White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper talked about using a four-man rotation prior to Monday's series opener with the Orioles.
"It has been on my mind the last couple of days. I'm not sure," said Cooper of a four-man staff. "With [Mark] Buehrle pitching as well as he has, you are tempted to say, 'Let's run him out there.'
"Again, it is what it is right now. We are going to look into it. Get the hottest guys out there."
Although a four-man rotation is more likely down the home stretch of a drive toward the American League Central title, the frequent employment of a six-man rotation since early May will have the White Sox starters well rested. Stewart, who won his White Sox debut on Saturday at Target Field, doesn't feel moving between the bullpen and rotation will be much of an adjustment.
Wednesday's starter Philip Humber also would figure to get bumped temporarily, with the White Sox concerned about the right-hander approaching his single-season innings high-water mark.
"We are going to reassess," said Cooper, speaking of the rotation after next Monday's off-day. "We have something down on paper but nothing official. We have to see how it goes. If we have a good week, and we ain't had a good week, if we get hot, you never know. We have a good series, and we will have to relook at it."
"Wherever they need me to go, starting or bullpen, I'll do what I can to contribute," Stewart said.
Dunn hits seventh against Orioles
BALTIMORE -- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen's original plan with Adam Dunn was to give him a couple of days off as a mental-health break. Before even having a chance to talk with Dunn about the plan, Guillen changed his mind and put Dunn at first base and hitting seventh in Monday's lineup.Dunn finished 1-for-3 with a walk and a run-scoring single in the White Sox 7-6 victory.
"I don't want to take the bat away from him right now," said Guillen of Dunn, who is hitting .166 following Monday's contest. "I put him down [in the order] hoping he will relax a little bit more and won't have the pressure to go out there and do it. It's another thing we'll try to help him a little bit to swing the bat better."
Guillen also spoke over the weekend that this dismal season is a sign for Dunn to change his offseason workout program as he gets a little bit further along in his career. Dunn readily admitted that he didn't swing the bat from the time the 2010 regular season ended until Spring Training.
When asked about Guillen's comments on Monday, Dunn said that he plans to take swings during this upcoming offseason and has moved closer to facilities where he can get in that sort of work. As for showing frustration during Saturday's three-strikeout effort, leading to Guillen's resting of Dunn on Sunday against Twins southpaw Brian Duensing, Dunn isn't trying to hide his feelings of disappointment.
"It's hard not to get frustrated," said Dunn, who had a .294 on-base percentage, .302 slugging percentage and 142 strikeouts. "I've tried to do the best that I could to not show frustration, but sometimes it's pretty hard not to."Dunn drove in a run with an opposite-field single in the second inning on Monday to contribute to a four-run outburst.
Sale happy to return to scene of debut
BALTIMORE -- On Aug. 6, 2010, Chris Sale made his Major League debut for the White Sox at Camden Yards. It was a debut that came just two months after the White Sox selected the lanky left-hander as their top pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
Sale entered in the eighth inning of a 1-1 deadlock and proceeded to walk Brian Roberts and give up a single to Nick Markakis. His first outing was done after seven pitches and without retiring a hitter, leading to a brief grimace, followed by a laugh, from Sale when asked about it Monday
"If I would have kept going like I did then, it probably wouldn't be a laughing matter," Sale said. "Stuff like that, in this game, it's good to laugh things off every once in a while."
Returning to where it all began is an exciting feeling for Sale, especially with his wife and son in attendance for the four-game series. It doesn't hurt that Sale has become one of the game's top left-handed relievers, with one of his bullpen mates referring to him as "the weapon."
"I'm just getting out there more, getting more comfortable, throwing strikes," said Sale, who has a 1.01 ERA with 34 strikeouts over his last 35 2/3 innings covering 26 games. "My best outings have been when I just throw strikes.
"That's what I try to continue to do. If you are going to get beat, you want to get beat by a hit and not give anybody anything."
Home struggles confound Guillen
BALTIMORE -- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has no explanation for the his club's difficulties at home, which have netted the worst home record in the American League at 24-32.The White Sox and Rays are the only AL teams with a winning record on the road and a losing mark at home.
As a team, the White Sox have hit 16 more homers at U.S. Cellular Field (64-48), but also scored 20 fewer runs (236-216). The team's road ERA checks in at 3.63, while the home ERA falls at 3.97. And there's no real explanation for the differential.
"That's hard to believe," said Guillen, whose club just finished off a three-game road sweep of the Twins. "Maybe they are more relaxed. Maybe they don't have to pay as much attention to media, fans, people around on the road."
Konerko in the lineup despite pain
BALTIMORE -- The continued pain in Paul Konerko's left knee/calf area, caused by a 95-mph fastball from Boston's Andrew Miller on July 31, has Konerko's manager worried.
Ozzie Guillen doesn't want Konerko to lose his .300 average because of wasted at-bats, and he doesn't want Konerko to injure another area by compensating for the current pain. But Konerko wants to hit and has been productive, so Guillen continues to us him as the designated hitter.
"I worry about him because he doesn't want to play that way," Guillen said. "When he run the bases, he feels a little embarrassed. We all know what's going on.
"He says he feels a little bit better, but he's still struggling. He said, 'As long as you are OK with me running the way I run the bases, I'm playing. If you have some problem with me running the bases like that, then take me out of the lineup.' I'm happy with where he is right now."Konerko finished 1-for-3 in Monday's 7-6 victory over Baltimore, but was thrown out at third in the sixth on Carlos Quentin's double into the left-field corner.
Third to first
Sergio Santos has made 23 straight scoreless appearances on the road to start this season, covering 25 1/3 innings, after striking out the side in Monday's 7-6 victory over the Orioles. Juan Pierre has hit in nine straight games. The White Sox have won six straight road games and are 15-5 in their last 20 road games.