CHICAGO -- Brooks Boyer believes the final six games of this nine-game White Sox homestand could show an attendance boost at U.S. Cellular Field for the American League Central leaders. Giveaways of a Carlton Fisk replica statue on Saturday and a Southpaw mini-plush pal on Sunday also should bring in more than a few extra people this weekend.
But the White Sox senior vice president, sales and marketing, is basing his attendance guesses on a recent positive upturn in television ratings.
"They have gone like this the last two weeks," said Boyer, indicating a big [ratings] jump physically with his hand. "They have really gone up. If history repeats itself, the attendance follows right after that.
"I don't remember the percentages. All I know is when I see the actual ratings, and they are two points higher than they were before. They spiked and stayed up."
Danks nearing return or rehab starts
CHICAGO -- Southpaw John Danks (left shoulder strain) would like to return from the 15-day disabled list on Monday and start for the White Sox on Wednesday against the Blue Jays. But the southpaw isn't in charge of said schedule.
All Danks can control is how his left shoulder feels. And after throwing 20 pitches on the side Friday, featuring his fastball and changeup, Danks gave both a physical and verbal thumbs-up.
"I felt good, and I'm making progress," Danks said. "I haven't been told a schedule or anything, but I'll try to throw another side Sunday. Hopefully, I feel up to throwing some curveballs and some cutters and then we can go from there. Another positive step for sure. I feel better even than I did in [St. Petersburg], so it's a good thing.
"At this point last week I wouldn't be able to do what I just did today. It's definitely a positive. We'll see how it feels Sunday."
Sunday's side session could dictate whether Danks needs a Minor League injury rehab stint or can come immediately back to the Majors.
"If that's still a question, I would imagine so," Danks said. "I would imagine that would dictate that, but hopefully it feels good and we can avoid that.
"I'll do whatever they tell me to do. If they want me to go down there and throw a game or two, so be it. I'm making progress. Like I said, hopefully, it'll feel well enough to spin some and then hopefully I can impress them enough they'll just let me go out there and throw."
Youth serving White Sox well during run
CHICAGO -- Gordon Beckham was asked before Friday's series opener with the Mariners to pinpoint a team change over the last 13 games, during which the White Sox won 12. The second baseman said nothing has changed.
And that even-keel nature for the South Siders, through good and bad, is a testament to manager Robin Ventura's leadership.
"I think the whole staff does," said White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, when asked if Ventura deserved credit for the club's present state. "This team, since the beginning of spring, is very one-day oriented. If we win the game yesterday or we got killed yesterday and it was a bad loss, everybody shows up really positive.
"We have a lot of young guys. So it's been great to see those guys coming into their own."
Konerko pointed out that the overall team success and the maturing process seen in young talent like Dayan Viciedo, Alejandro De Aza and Addison Reed, to name a few, really kind of kills "two birds with one stone."
"We're winning some games and we're competing, but let's just say that went away," Konerko said. "Well, we've got some guys in the bullpen and some guys in the lineup now that are turning into some pretty good big leaguers, and that's not bad either.
"So you'd like to get both of those going the whole way, but it's kind of a nice attitude and a nice thing to have when you feel like it's not just all about the wins and losses. It's nice when you get the wins, but everybody comes in here every day just to get better as a player.
"Even the old guys are doing the same thing," Konerko said. "It's just a matter of keep doing that the next four months, which is easier said than done. But that's the goal."
Third to first
Brent Morel has gone 5-for-12 during his first three Minor League injury rehab games with Triple-A Charlotte, testing the lumbar back strain that put him on the disabled list retroactive to May 18. Manager Robin Ventura said that Morel wouldn't lose his starting job to injury, but with Orlando Hudson adding a spark at third, Ventura wasn't as definitive on Friday.
"Could be. We'll get to that when we get there," said Ventura of Morel. "I don't expect him to lose it just because he's hurt.
"You just keep tabs on it and make sure he's healthy when he comes off. You don't want to lose him again for another 15 games."
The White Sox are making tickets available for $5 in select upper-reserved sections of U.S. Cellular Field for the Toronto series from June 5-7. Matt Thornton set the franchise record for relief appearances with his 425th during Friday's 7-4 win over the Mariners. Thornton broke a tie with Bobby Thigpen. During their nine-game winning streak, the White Sox have hit .312 with 17 doubles, three triples, 18 homers and 72 runs scored. They are 17-0 this season when hitting two or more homers.