DETROIT -- White Sox manager Robin Ventura played with Mariano Rivera during the 2002 and 2003 seasons and was stunned by the season-ending torn ACL the Hall of Fame-bound closer sustained while shagging fly balls during Thursday batting practice. Ventura was surprised by the injury, not Rivera doing what he usually does before games.
"He did that every day," said Ventura of Rivera shagging fly balls. "It's horrible. You just don't expect that to happen. As great as he is, obviously the guy, as much as he means to the bullpen and that team, it's a big loss."
"You admire [Rivera's] professionalism and his consistency," added White Sox reliever Matt Thornton. "That's something as a late-inning reliever, I'm not a closer, but just being a late-inning guy, you model yourself after him. He's just the icon of closers."
Ventura pointed out that Rivera was probably the best Yankees outfielder when he was there, catching fly balls and running stuff down while shagging. He also had a decent arm, although Ventura joked that Rivera would have needed to start his throw at the third-base dugout to get that cutter home.
As for restrictions with his own pitchers on shagging, Ventura is thinking about it but doesn't want to alter any particular workout plan.
"There are a lot of guys who have done that for years and years," Ventura said. "You see pitchers who go out and get their running in. You can only do so much. I think some guys really enjoy doing that. He's done it for a long time. One incident is not necessarily going to stop you from having guys shag."
"At times, I power shag," Thornton said. "There were a couple of guys who I came up with, and that was the kind of thing they would do. They would run, but during batting practice, get after it. Jeff Nelson, he would be in left-center every day and he would run 20 or 25 balls down. He ran all over the place. That was their conditioning and it's a great regimen."
Danks working to better locate pitches
DETROIT -- Physically, John Danks feels fine.
There's no soreness in his shoulder, elbow or any other part of his body contributing to his 6.51 ERA through six starts. It's more of an issue of how he's throwing, a problem he has started to figure out with pitching coach Don Cooper prior to Friday's series opener with the Tigers.
"I'm just not staying on my pitches," Danks said. "I'm coming off, and I don't know if it's I'm trying to throw too hard or make the ball do too much. I just have to make it simple and get back to staying within myself.
"That's when I'm at my best. That's kind of the common denominator and theme. Every pitch we watched today, the bad ones I was coming off and the good ones I stayed behind the ball."
Danks' effectiveness never has been predicated on velocity, so he's not one who studies the radar readings for an increase or drop by a mile per hour or two. That's insignificant compared to being able to consistently locate his pitches and get ahead of hitters.
Over his last two starts, Danks really hasn't been able to accomplish either.
"I need to be able to locate and get multiple pitches over the plate," Danks said. "That's what's got me. I've gotten in hitter's counts, and when I am throwing strikes, they are not always quality strikes. I'm going to try to get back to being who I am.
"My goal has always been to be the same guy, whether I'm going good or bad. I feel like I do a pretty good job of that. Don't get me wrong, there are tough days in there for sure, but I just try to stay the same person. I'm a confident guy and I have no doubt in my mind that I'll turn this season around and make a good year of it. I just need to get it straightened out pretty quick."
Third to first
Paul Konerko has reached base safely in 22 of his 25 games this season, after knocking out two hits in Friday's 5-4 walk-off loss to the Tigers.
The White Sox slipped to 5-4 against the American League Central and are 1-3 during their current stretch of 15 consecutive games within the division.
The Alex Rios/Chris Perez final at-bat controversy from Thursday had blown over by Friday afternoon. The exchange of words seemed to be chalked up to Rios being frustrated over grounding out as the tying run in the ninth, followed by the Cleveland closer's game-saving celebration, which Rios thought was aimed at him. But manager Robin Ventura also believe Rios' reaction could sort of spark the team.
"You're just looking to wake up a team and do things," Ventura said. "I know as a player you don't forget that. It's good for our team. That's the way it's always been."