CHICAGO -- The statistics would indicate differently, but White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez doesn't consider 2012 close to one of his best Major League performances.
"Like I said, this is probably one of the worst years that I've had," said Ramirez, through translator and White Sox manager of cultural development Jackson Miranda, of his fifth big league season. "It's just something that I'm definitely, I feel like I'm a little bit off at the plate. When the offseason comes up, all I'm going to do is work a lot harder to get back what I've had."
Ramirez had a .279 career average and an average of 17 homers and 71 RBIs coming into this current campaign. He also had a high-water mark of 14 stolen bases back in 2009.
Following Friday's 3-1 victory over the Rays, Ramirez was hitting .269 with nine homers, 72 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. He also has solidified his status as one of the best defensive shortstops in the American League.
Those numbers are not the basis for harsh self-criticism from Ramirez, whose White Sox team has an 8-1 record during games in which he has gone deep.
"Even though the numbers are similar to what they have been in the past, it's more so that I know I can play better than what I have," Ramirez said. "I'm more upset with myself because I know I can do better than what I'm doing."
Ranking 10th in the AL via a .336 average with runners in scoring position, Ramirez has struggled just like every other hitter with RISP over the last 11 games. The team is hitting .119 (10-for-84) in those situations during this stretch, with 75 left on base, leading Ramirez to admit the idea of trying to do too much with the season slipping away has played in his mind.
"I really can't speak for the rest of the guys," Ramirez said. "I do say that I get a little bit anxious when I get up to the plate. Then, it's just trying to help the team, trying to help us win. It's something I have to control a little bit more."
Jor. Danks not content with 'rookie' mistakes
CHICAGO -- Jordan Danks has played baseball his entire life and knows that if he runs past second on a fly ball, he has to re-tag the base before returning to first. So, when he was called out on appeal by second-base umpire Alfonso Marquez for the final out in the eighth inning of Thursday's 3-2 loss for failing to re-tag on Alexei Ramirez's fly ball, it wasn't because the rule escaped him.
"Honestly, I didn't think I went by it. I didn't feel myself," Danks said. "I felt like I ran to the bag and turned around. But there's nothing I can do about it now.
"Even for guys like myself, I don't like to be thought of as, 'He's just a rookie so he didn't know.' I know what's going on out there. It's just a series of fluke things that go on. It just so happens that I am a rookie. It's one of those things that I get in the game and you're watching the game before you get in and know what's going on and what to expect and that sort of thing happens."
Upon returning to the dugout, manager Robin Ventura and bench coach Mark Parent talked with Danks about the mistake in keeping with the development part of the dual-purpose goal for this 2012 team. Ventura acknowledged Friday that the matter was taken care of, which is about as deep as he'll go into any private conversations.
Danks, who arrived in Chicago after parts of three seasons with Triple-A Charlotte, won't let one fluke play take away from the confidence he has gained in his inaugural Major League effort.
"Now that I've gotten the experience and gotten about 60 or so at-bats up here and built the confidence even more, I know I can play at this level," said Danks, who hit a walk-off homer against Oakland on Aug. 10. "It definitely has been a confidence booster."
Quintana to start Sunday's home finale
CHICAGO -- Rookie southpaw Jose Quintana gets the nod for the White Sox final regular-season home start, taking the mound Sunday afternoon against the Rays and American League Cy Young candidate David Price.Quintana has been a true positive surprise for the White Sox this year, posting a 3.60 ERA over 24 games, including 21 starts, and pitching crucial games against the Tigers on Sept. 10 and 17 that were both won by the White Sox.
"I'd say from Spring Training, yeah he surprised me, because you didn't expect him to really be in the rotation and do the things that we've asked him to do," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Quintana, who has not started since Sept. 22 in Anaheim, although he did work two-thirds of an inning in relief Tuesday. "He's had some big spots. I think the rainout game with Detroit, one of them that if you're coming out of Spring Training and say you're going to have him go for that game, you'd be surprised."
The White Sox rotation for the Cleveland series has yet to be set and probably will depend on the team's results this weekend against the Rays and its status in the push for the playoffs. Hector Santiago should get the call Monday.
White Sox know where they stand in final days
CHICAGO -- After turning in one of his top pitching performances as a member of the White Sox, during yet another tough loss, Jake Peavy indicated Thursday that he thought the South Siders needed to win out to reach the playoffs. Designated hitter Adam Dunn wasn't quite in line with that prediction when asked Friday.
"Those are Jake-isms," said Dunn of his friend and teammate. "I'm not going to say we're going to have to win out every game. We're going to have to win as many as we can and if we win three and Detroit loses them all, then we don't have to win them all."
The White Sox obviously need help to reach the postseason. But veteran Kevin Youkilis still feels the White Sox can't worry about the Tigers, even with five games left after Friday.
"All we can do is control what we can control, and we just got to go out there and play baseball and worry about what we can do," Youkilis said. "We can't worry about anyone else."
"I don't need to tell them anything. They know how to prepare," manager Robin Ventura added. "They know where we're at. A rah-rah speech isn't really what's needed. Talking to them individually, making sure they're ready to go. That stuff's fine."
Third to first
According to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez, the White Sox finalized a deal for $450,000 with international shortstop prospect Johan Cruz. It was the only player they signed from the July 2, 2012 class. Nineteen of the White Sox last 25 games have been decided by three runs or fewer. The White Sox have a 7-12 record in those 19. Gavin Floyd is 5-1 with a 2.48 ERA in six career starts against the Rays. Nate Jones has thrown 22 1/3 scoreless innings over his last 21 appearances. Kevin Youkilis has hit in seven straight games.