CHICAGO -- White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper watches all of the side sessions thrown by his starting pitchers. But he also takes special interest in the sessions thrown by the White Sox young relievers, such as Nate Jones prior to Saturday's contest.
"It's good for me because I can continue to see right there first-hand what we are doing," Cooper said. "We talk about things. We work on things. It's kind of nice."
Everything Cooper and the White Sox do with rookies such as Jones, Addison Reed, Jose Quintana and first-year starter Chris Sale, to name a few, serves as "foundation stuff," according to their coach. It's building blocks for the future, while trying to maintain the club's standing atop the American League Central.
During the course of this season, the White Sox have had 10 rookie pitchers on their roster. It has been a challenge Cooper has enjoyed.
"I find myself really pulling for them because you want that work to pay off in the game," Cooper said. "You really want them to do well. Even if they don't, I haven't lost patience on days they don't pitch very well or as well as we would like.
"Those guys have done one heck of a job. Think about the injuries we've had as far as [John] Danks, Philip [Humber], [Jesse] Crain, Gavin [Floyd] for a while, and the loss of [Mark] Buehrle's 210 innings, the loss of [Sergio] Santos, another 50 innings.
"That's a lot of innings that we've lost," Cooper said. "They are being made up by Quintana, Reed, Jones, [Hector] Santiago, [Dylan] Axelrod, [Brian Omogrosso], all rookies. They've done a very good job, and we've got more to go."
Konerko to undergo exam on Monday
CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko will undergo a thorough concussion-related exam at Rush University Medical Center on Monday, as announced by the White Sox on Sunday morning.
If the White Sox captain shows positive signs of improvements during that exam, he could resume baseball activities on Tuesday. The hope is that Konerko is cleared to rejoin the team Friday in Kansas City, when he is eligible to come off the seven-day disabled list.
"It's not easy to get on this list, and it's not easy to get off it," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura, repeating a mantra he has used since Konerko went on the disabled list specially designed for concussions on Friday. "Our doctors look at it, and MLB has doctors to look at him. It's not just we look at him and give him a thumbs-up.
"He felt a little better yesterday, but he hasn't done any activity. Exert himself. Running, workout, that's really the next step. Once he feels he's able to start doing things, running around and maybe swinging a bat. Most of the symptoms go away, and then you try to get some activity in and see where it goes."
Konerko sustained the concussion during the seventh inning of Tuesday's contest against the Royals, when Jarrod Dyson's left elbow caught Konerko in the right temple as he beat out an infield single on a grounder to second baseman Gordon Beckham. Ventura described Konerko's symptoms as "a little of everything" and "he doesn't look right," although he has improved over the past few days.
Ventura also admitted to going through concussion-like situations as a player but that the game as a whole is better equipped to handle such situations.
"We never had the seven-day disabled list," Ventura said. "Guys have talked about it. Everybody probably has a story about it, probably have gotten a concussion.
"Back then you were supposed to shake it off and you'll be fine. We have a lot more information now and people are smarter about it and taking care of the guys."
Thornton confident in decisive pitch selection
CHICAGO -- After taking the loss Saturday night against Oakland, Matt Thornton went back and studied the pitch he made to Jonny Gomes that resulted in the game-tying, eighth-inning home run. The southpaw still believed Sunday that starting Gomes with a slider was the right call.
"Our scouting report said, 'First-pitch breaking ball, outside. Strike 1 every time,'" Thornton said. "My thought was that maybe I'd hung the pitch a little bit. I went back and watched it and talked to [catcher] Tyler [Flowers] and he said that he was going to catch it at the knees. It was going to be the right pitch.
"It caught me off guard he even swung, but that's the way it is. It's the game of baseball. He hit a line drive and it got out."
Thornton, who entered Sunday's series finale with a 3.88 ERA, admitted that Saturday's loss was a bit mind-boggling but he had moved on and was ready for what's next. The left-hander hopes a few more wins are on his horizon, carrying a 4-8 record through 54 appearances.
"As a reliever, I've got a lot of decisions," Thornton said. "Unfortunately, eight of those are losses. But when you give up even one run in a game that's tied, that's the difference-maker.
"Frustrating, at times? Yes, but at the same time, I feel like I've come out and continued to attack hitters, continued to make pitches. And you live with results when you throw strikes and prepare yourself every single day and are making the right pitches in certain situations."
Third to first
Third baseman Kevin Youkilis was out of action Sunday after being hit in the left forearm by a Grant Balfour pitch in the ninth inning of Saturday's 9-7 loss. Youkilis also was resting his sore right knee that caused him to be scratched from Tuesday's starting lineup. He is day to day."If everything feels good, and if I'm able to play, I'll play [Monday]," Youkilis said after Sunday's 7-3 win over the A's, while wearing a compression bandage on his left arm. "It's stiffness. I don't know the diagnosis and all that, but it's something that needs to go away, swelling and all that."
Manager Robin Ventura confirmed the White Sox will add a catcher among their September callups. Ventura used A.J. Pierzynski at designated hitter and Tyler Flowers behind the plate in Saturday's lineup.
The White Sox have been in first place for 73 days, including all but eight since May 29. Jordan Danks was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte following the 7-3 victory over the A's on Sunday. The move came after Danks' first career homer gave the White Sox a 4-3, walk-off victory Friday.
The Danks move was made to add another pitcher to the White Sox staff, with Dylan Axelrod and Hector Santiago standing out as the most likely candidates for promotion.
"He's done everything you want but we're running through guys in the bullpen pretty good," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Danks, who will be back in September. "Just giving them help."
Dewayne Wise fills the utility outfield spot that Danks had.
Adam Dunn picked up his 998th RBI during Sunday's victory. The White Sox are 12-6 over their last 18 games, have won five of their last six series and are 17-9 against the AL West.