CHICAGO -- While Dodgers fans won't get to see Chris Sale during this week's three-game Interleague series vs. the Dodgers beginning Monday, it looks as if Jose Abreu will be back in action.
The rookie sensation, who has been on the disabled list since May 18 with inflammation his left ankle, took batting practice again Friday and will go through simulated game work on Saturday and Sunday in Chicago. That simulated work will take the place of a rehab assignment.
"It's a part of the evaluation to make sure he's going to be ready to go, hopefully Monday," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
Ventura expects some rust on Abreu's swing when he returns, but he hopes it doesn't last long. The club will try to get him as close as possible to live game action through the simulated games to have him ready Monday.
"He's going to go out and run and do things that, get as close as we can, so that we know he's ready to go when he comes off," Ventura said. "You don't want to get a guy off the DL and the first thing he does is go out and re-injure it and then you lose him for another 15 days. So we'll get close to where we'll have a pretty good idea."
Sale's next start moved up to Sunday
CHICAGO -- The highly anticipated Chris Sale-Clayton Kershaw pitching matchup Monday at Dodger Stadium has been put on hold until the next Interleague series between these two teams -- or a possible future World Series meeting.
Sale had his start moved up to Sunday, as announced by the White Sox on Friday afternoon. The move makes sense on a number of different levels.
After throwing three hitless innings and 40 pitches before a nearly two-hour rain delay Tuesday against the Indians, Sale will be coming back on regular rest because of Thursday's scheduled off-day. He gets another start at home, meaning another chance for the popular "K Zone for Sale" promotion in Sections 154 and 155 at U.S. Cellular Field. He also faces the Angels on Saturday, June 7, with Thursday standing as another scheduled off-day in Los Angeles.
Even without the move to Sunday, Sale would have pitched against the Angels in Anaheim. But he would have gone Sunday and been the one starter of the White Sox five to miss the ensuing four-game home set against the Tigers. Sale has a career 2-0 record with a 0.60 ERA over four games at Angel Stadium, and a 4-4 mark and 3.00 ERA lifetime against the Tigers.
"Just how he was feeling, how little he threw the last time and in talking to him, going over it the last couple days, we just felt like it was better to get him in there as quick as you could and he would be fine," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura on the reason for moving Sale. "So he says he feels great."
"Whenever they need me or my name is called, I'm going out there," Sale said. "It just so happens to be Sunday, which for me makes sense because I only threw three innings. So go out there on regular rest and get it going, try to find a groove."
Ventura said that Sale likes to pitch at home, which factored into the decision, and there was some desire for him to remain on regular rest in between starts. The White Sox ace has allowed one run on three hits over 20 innings covering his last four starts -- including a Minor League rehab effort with Triple-A Charlotte -- while striking out 35 and walking six. He did have one problem with the move in that he wanted to swing the bat on Monday.
When reminded he would have to hit against Kershaw, Sale smiled and changed his tune.
"I guess that's the double-edged sword right there, wanting to hit and then having to hit against him," Sale said. "I did it two years ago, and it wasn't that fun. Not at all. I'll let those guys take him down."
Garcia holding out hope for return this season
CHICAGO -- Avisail Garcia is not giving up hope on playing again during the 2014 regular season, despite undergoing what was deemed season-ending surgery on April 15 to repair a torn labrum and avulsion fracture in his left shoulder.
"I feel pretty good. My arm is moving a little bit more," Garcia told MLB.com. "I'm looking forward to see if I have a chance to play this year. I don't know yet. I have to keep working and see what happens.
"I'm positive. Hopefully I have a chance to play this year. So let's see what happens. We never know."
Garcia suffered the injury on April 9 in Colorado while diving for a fly ball in right field. X-rays taken in Denver showed no clear fracture or separation, which is all that can be seen on an X-ray, but the MRI done the next morning in Chicago showed the labrum damage. The news devastated Garcia, who was expecting no more than a disabled list stint.
While the White Sox right fielder admits to having "a little bit" of pain in the left shoulder, he is upbeat and said the rehab program that has him at the ballpark four or five hours per day is progressing well. The White Sox appreciate Garcia's desire to get back, but they aren't changing their prognosis or plan.
"He continues to work extremely hard, feels good, and is progressing nicely, which is great," general manager Rick Hahn said of Garcia. "However, we remain committed to the recovery program and time frame as originally laid out and do not anticipate that changing."
Konerko still slightly bothered by back issue
CHICAGO -- The White Sox and Paul Konerko -- whose back locked up following Tuesday's twice rain-delayed game -- are shooting for the veteran slugger's return to action for Saturday afternoon's contest against the Padres.
"Wednesday morning I got up and it was pretty locked up. I've had it worse in the past," Konerko said. "The way it felt yesterday and then coming into today, walking in today I was planning on telling [manager Robin Ventura] I was ready to go.
"I took some swings in the cage and the thought was that I'd be available tonight later in the game but ... we weren't sure enough that if it was going to be ready, we didn't want to burn two people right off the bat in the beginning of the game."
Konerko enters this Padres series with four hits in his last 43 at-bats over the past 14 games, but it was Marcus Semien who once again got the start at designated hitter Friday.
"You don't want to throw somebody in there that's not quite sure -- and I wasn't sure -- so I'll try to keep it going the rest of the day and then if need be hit, be used later in the game," Konerko said. "Hopefully we don't need it, but if need be I'll be ready for that."
With Jose Abreu scheduled to return from the disabled list Monday, Semien would be a candidate to temporarily return to Triple-A Charlotte.
A move to the DL for Konerko is also possible if his back doesn't respond completely.
"It is what it is. I have to deal with this a lot," Konerko said. "Sometimes at this point where, like the other night, you have some games that you're kind of at the mercy of. Sometimes it can just kind of catch up to you a little bit. It's something that it's nowhere near where it was, was it last May or June or whenever, where I was just having trouble standing up straight for days on end.
"That's a whole different ... I think it's probably related to that as far as the same area and all that. But it's nothing like it was then."
Third to first
• Sale has taken notice of the "K Zone for Sale" promotion when he starts, and he appreciates the support.
"It's cool. It's fun to have the excitement of that in the ballpark and hearing those guys go crazy every time that there's a strikeout," Sale said. "It's fun to have people in the stands. Every time you get more people in the stands, it creates more energy and more excitement in the ballpark."
• The White Sox lead the Major Leagues with six wins involving a game-ending play, including three walk-off home runs. By contrast, the White Sox registered eight walk-off wins last season, including two home runs.
• With 999 quality starts since 2003, the White Sox are tied with the Angels and Mets for the most in baseball during that span.