Konerko gets breather; Dunn returns to lineup
Konerko gets breather; Dunn returns to lineup
MINNEAPOLIS -- Paul Konerko was absent from the White Sox lineup Monday for the first game in a three-game set with the Twins, getting a routine day off.
"It was more scheduled than anything else," manager Robin Ventura said. "He knew he was going to get one at some point. I guess getting in here late, it just made sense that today was the time."
The White Sox slugger's batting average dipped to .214 Sunday after going 1-for-10 in Chicago's weekend series with the Angels. But Ventura made sure to point out that the decision to rest Konerko had nothing to do with his recent performance.
While Konerko took a day off, slumping first baseman Adam Dunn returned to the lineup after sitting out the club's 3-0 shutout of the Angels on Sunday in Chicago. Dunn's season has been ripe with offensive struggles, hitting .137 overall and hitless in his last 11 at-bats entering Monday.
Sox hope Sale's gem lights spark under club
MINNEAPOLIS -- The White Sox have been short on positives in the early goings of a season in which they remain stuck at the bottom of the American League Central standings.
But the Sox received a jolt Sunday night when starting pitcher Chris Sale dazzled the home crowd at U.S. Cellular Field with a one-hit shutout victory against the Angels, coming up eight outs shy of a perfect game.
The dominant performance served to lighten the mood in the Sox clubhouse and could be the source of rejuvenation Chicago has been looking to build on throughout its rough start to the year.
"There was a little something different last night energy-wise," starter Jake Peavy said. "When you come up with such a big effort like that, it can certainly spark a team. We certainly need anything we can take to get on a run."
Entering their three-game series with the Twins on Monday, the White Sox sat five games below .500 at 15-20. Sale's near-perfect outing kept Chicago from being swept by the Angels, stabilizing the team at 3-3 in its last six games.
The perceived energy boost may be coming at the right time. Target Field has recently been a place of refuge for the White Sox. Dating back to the 2011 season, Chicago has won 13 of its last 16 games in Minneapolis, including the past five straight.
Beckham takes light swings, close to rehab stint
MINNEAPOLIS -- One month since he was placed on the disabled list, White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham appears to be reaching the final stages of rehab for his injured left hand.
Beckham, who said Friday he was aiming to make his return in a "couple of weeks," has not been cleared for batting practice yet, but has continued to take light swings in the batting cage.
While the discomfort in his hand hasn't completely faded, Beckham has been notably upbeat with how he has progressed in the last few days.
"There's a lot to be excited about the way I'm swinging," Beckham said Monday, before the series opener against the Twins. "The second day I woke up after I hit, it was definitely sore.
"I woke up today and there was a lot less soreness from yesterday. I felt pretty good swinging the bat. When it's the right pitch, the right swing it's doing the right thing, but there are some pitches that tie me up that I don't feel comfortable with yet."
Beckham underwent surgery on April 16 to remove the fractured hamate bone in his hand -- an injury he suffered against the Nationals in the second week of the season. Originally projected to miss six to eight weeks, Beckham's return may fall on the early side of that timetable.
The 26-year-old infielder anticipates being able to participate in batting practice later in the week, either Wednesday or Thursday. If that goes well, he could be headed off on a rehab assignment soon.
"It's kind of like going back to Spring Training again," said Beckham, who opened the year with a .316 batting average in seven games before getting injured. "You've got to see some pitches … I have to feel that with time, I'm going to start feeling comfortable back in the box again."
• Sale didn't get much time to savor his dominant one-hit shutout of the Angels on Sunday. After dealing with a painful toothache for several days, Sale had to have his abscessed tooth removed Monday morning.
The emergency dental work isn't expected to throw off Sale's routine before he makes his next start Friday in Anaheim.
Nate Sandell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.