04/09/11 9:33 PM ET
Dunn progressing toward Monday return
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
"I was actually laying on my side, which is how I sleep. I hadn't been able to do that," Dunn said. "I woke up and thought, 'I have a little action going on here.'"
Dunn took some flips in the batting cage Saturday, and while he wasn't feeling 100 percent, he felt OK.
"That means tomorrow is going to be great," a smiling Dunn said.
Sunday's game would be Dunn's fifth out of action since the appendectomy, marking the original projection for his absence. Dunn stayed consistent and still hoped to return for the Tampa Bay series finale, but manager Ozzie Guillen thought the Oakland series starting Monday was more of a possibility.
"I'm not a doctor, but when they open your body and you say five days, I don't care who you are, you're not Superman," Guillen said. "I don't care how tough you are, that's going to get you. In the meanwhile, that's very good news. He wants to play. We have to be careful with that."
Thornton's confidence in the ninth not wavering
CHICAGO -- Two blown saves in two opportunities for Matt Thornton won't change the White Sox closer's approach of continuing to make quality pitches and trying to induce soft contact.
He also won't be affected by doubters taking him to task just seven games into the 2011 season.
"I am who I am and I've had failure in my career," said Thornton, speaking before Saturday afternoon's contest against the Rays. "This doesn't feel like failure to me. I'm making good pitches. I'm going out there and going after hitters. I didn't walk four guys in a row. I actually didn't walk anyone. I went right after them and continued to attack them.
"The results are what they are. They beat me up yesterday and hung five on me. I don't care if they are earned or unearned."
Both Alexei Ramirez and Juan Pierre committed errors behind Thornton during Tampa Bay's five-run ninth on Friday, leading to all five runs being unearned. But as Thornton explained, Pierre made three diving catches earlier in the game to help the White Sox take charge, and it's his job to make another pitch and maintain that lead to erase Pierre's miscue.
Known primarily for his high-octane fastball, Thornton didn't deviate too far from the script Friday with 29 of his 33 pitches being fastballs. But he mixed in cutters, sliders and fastballs to both sides of the plate and up in the zone. The Rays simply laid off the elevated fastballs.
"It's one of those where they did their job," Thornton said. "You have to tip your hat to them a little bit."
Dan Johnson's game-winning home run came on a fastball designed to go down and away. Thornton missed that location, and Johnson delivered the only hard-hit ball in either of his 2011 save chances. That process gives Thornton the belief results will change soon if he doesn't change his game plan, although White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen seemed to misunderstand the message coming his way in regard to his closer.
"Oh, please don't do the same thing," said Guillen with a laugh of Thornton's two blown saves. "It's not like people think, 'Wow, he blew the game.' I think he pitched good enough to not lose."
"I feel good. I feel strong. My arm is feeling good," Thornton said. "It's just a matter of getting on a run here. Results will take care of themselves. [If] you continue to attack hitters and go after them, results will come your way."
Hot start at the plate for Beckham
CHICAGO -- The news of Gordon Beckham's third 2011 game of three hits or more, coming Friday, already topping his 2010 total in that category took the second baseman a bit by surprise.
"Are you serious? Oh my god," said Beckham with a laugh. "I do remember I didn't have a three-hit game until July 10 of last year. So, it's nice to start off well."
Beckham's first three-hit game in 2010 actually came on July 11. But with a .343 average after Saturday's win, Beckham has jumped off to an infinitely better start as compared to his first-half struggles last year. Even in three hitless games this season, Beckham has felt good at the plate and done something to contribute.
"Starting off a season like this is always nice, but it's a long season and we all know it," Beckham said. "When you start off well, you always have that in your back pocket. You know you have it in you if you ever do get in a slump.
"To come back and do what I did last night, that's great. That's the way you get out of stuff earlier than let something go on and on and on and it becomes worse and worse and worse. Get out of it quick."Beckham went 1-for-4 in Saturday's 4-2 victory. He hit a sacrifice fly in the third to bring home the club's first run and then singled in the seventh.
White Sox hitters face a bruising proposition
CHICAGO -- White Sox hitters have been hit by a Major League-high seven pitches this season, with Carlos Quentin getting plunked by Wade Davis during Saturday's 4-2 victory over the Rays, while their pitchers have yet to hit a batter.
Everyday players such as Quentin and Alexei Ramirez tend to crowd the plate, leading to some of those hit by pitches. And White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen isn't going to seek retribution unless he deems those hit batsmen as intentional.
"I know exactly when that happens," Guillen said. "I don't care what people say, but if I see any of my players hit on purpose, we have to do something. I never hit anyone because our guys are on top of the plate."
The White Sox were hit 79 times in 2010, the most in the American League, while their pitchers finished last with just 34 batters hit.
Third to first
Paul Konerko's franchise record of seven straight games with at least one RBI to start the season came to an end on Saturday. Konerko had a chance to drive in a run in the seventh, but his one-out grounder to third ended with Gordon Beckham being thrown out at the plate. Sergio Santos made his fourth straight scoreless appearance, covering 5 2/3 innings, on Saturday. He also was not scored upon during Spring Training. The White Sox have led in all eight games this season. Chicago Bears tailback Matt Forte threw out one of the ceremonial first pitches on Saturday.