06/14/12 1:12 AM ET
Matheny sees plenty of confidence in White Sox
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
"You can see one team with a lot of confidence, just the way they walk onto the field and the way they play the game," said Matheny of the White Sox. "And you're seeing a team on the other side, not so much. Those are things, in my opinion, that start at the top."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura was asked about that White Sox confidence on Wednesday, and he said he sees it now with his American League Central-leading squad. He smiled when it was suggested that the confidence started with him and his staff, but rejected that idea, instead pointing out that you can't fake confidence as a player.
"They have tough games and win them or a tough series and you do well," Ventura said. "You run up against certain teams and play well.
"It starts building, and I think that's something that these guys have earned -- to be able to feel that way. It's nice that it's happening this early to be able to feel that way."
Dunn day to day with right ankle sprain
ST. LOUIS -- Never has a home run hurt so bad for Adam Dunn as Tuesday night's 436-foot blast.
In the process of launching that eighth-inning drive, Dunn rolled his right ankle on the swing and sustained a slight sprain. The injury caused Dunn to be scratched from the starting lineup approximately 90 minutes prior to Wednesday's 1-0 loss to the Cardinals, although Dunn did pinch-hit in the eighth and hit into an inning-ending double play.
His status for Thursday is uncertain. With Clayton Kershaw starting Friday for the Dodgers, Dunn could have three straight games out of the starting lineup after playing every White Sox game of the season as of Wednesday.
"We did a lot of treatment, so hopefully [I'll play] tomorrow," said Dunn after the White Sox loss. "Swinging wasn't too bad. We had it wrapped so good. But running, not that I can move as it is, but you can imagine how bad it was when I can't move as it is, plus you add that. That would have been a disaster out there. There was no way I could have got out there and been productive today."
"We'll check him tomorrow," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Dunn. "But he wasn't getting down there very good."
Dunn was set to make his second straight start in left field, a move from his customary designated-hitter spot brought about by Interleague Play in a National League ballpark, and his third start at the position during the 2012 season. Dunn clubbed his 21st home run of the season on Tuesday to put him on pace for a career-high and franchise-record 56.
His 20th homer came during game No. 60 of this season against Houston, making him the fifth-fastest player in franchise history to reach that level. As Ventura reiterated on Wednesday, this present version of Dunn is much more a representative of a power-packed career than his 2011 debut with the White Sox.
"He has a track record. He has done it in years before," said Ventura of Dunn. "In this uniform, people just didn't see it last year. Now, you are seeing why he was brought here."
Dayan Viciedo replaced Dunn in left field and hitting third. Dunn first felt the ankle pain Wednesday morning and thought it was due to a couple of foul balls he hit off of his foot Tuesday. But that was not the case.
Fukudome working his way back from injury
ST. LOUIS -- The right oblique Kosuke Fukudome strained on June 3 against Seattle contributed to an already rough opening with the White Sox for the veteran outfielder, who is hitting .171 over 24 games and 41 at-bats. But Fukudome is more concerned about getting healthy than his limited playing time through the first three months.
"It is what it is," said Fukudome through translator D.J. Masumoto. "It's something I have to deal with."
Fukudome, 35, started swinging the bat and throwing Tuesday and feels a lot better. He'll start to increase his work over the next two or three days and figures to go on a Minor League rehab assignment before returning, although he has not been told anything.
"I want to fix it properly, because I don't want to jump into a game and reinjure it," Fukudome said. "We'll go at it the next couple of days and make a decision."
Humber knows importance of his next start
ST. LOUIS - Philip Humber has played parts of seven Major League seasons and has been in professional baseball since 2005. So the veteran right-hander doesn't need a chat with Robin Ventura or a challenge from the White Sox manager to understand what's at stake when he starts against the Dodgers on Saturday.
"I've been around long enough and gone through good parts and bad parts to know if you don't perform, and if you don't get good results, then they are not going to keep running you out there," said Humber, who brings a 5.92 ERA over 11 starts into this weekend's contest. "That's a fact of the matter.
"There's not a whole lot that needs to be said. I'm not a rookie. I know what's expected and I know I haven't been doing that. If it was for lack of working, or if my priorities weren't in line off the field or stuff like that, we probably would have already talked.
Since throwing the 21st perfect game in Major League history on April 21 in Seattle, Humber has a 1-4 record with a 7.50 ERA. The perfect game certainly stands as an unfair barometer, especially since Humber has turned in four quality starts since then and has pitched better than the statistics indicate.
But Humber realizes the perfect game is a talking point for media and fans who are interested in how he has performed since then.
"You can take a look at a sample size of any time in a player's career and look at it and be like 'Well, this guy is terrible,'" Humber said. "The truth of the matter is, it doesn't matter what anybody outside thinks, as far as good or bad.
"What matters is what I think in my head. As long as they are giving me the ball, the only person who can control how I pitch is me. And so I just have to remain focused on the right things, and for me that's really commanding the baseball. I felt like I'm doing a better job of it, but obviously it needs to get better -- just for the team. I want to pitch well for this team. This team is playing so good."
Jose Quintana's mound dominance extended through Tuesday's victory against St. Louis, but a healthy John Danks soon will return to the rotation. So, someone will have to move, with Ventura being against a six-man rotation.
It could be Quintana back to the Minors, or Humber to the bullpen if he struggles against the Dodgers. That possible move won't cross Humber's mind as he prepares for his next start.
"If I take that into account when I go out to pitch, it's going to take away from my focus," Humber said. "So, just like last year, I never knew if I was going to be in there or not in there.
"That's kind of how I have always approached it, and that hasn't changed this year. I want to get better results, and I feel like I'm close to getting those results. As long as they keep giving me the ball, I'll keep going out there and doing the best I can with it."
Third to first
The White Sox released right-handed pitcher Terry Doyle from his contract so he can pursue other baseball opportunities in Japan. Doyle, 26, had a 6-3 record and 2.83 ERA over 12 games (11 starts) with Triple-A Charlotte, after being selected by the Twins in the 2011 Rule 5 Draft and returned to the White Sox in March.
During Doyle's last start against Toledo, he lost a no-hitter on the first batter in the ninth inning.
Paul Konerko has 75 hits in 55 games this season, marking the second White Sox player since 1960 with that many hits in his first 55 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Frank Thomas picked up 76 hits in his first 55 games in 1997.
The last time the White Sox were shut out, 1-0, in an Interleague game was June 13, 2012, vs. the Cubs at Wrigley Field, when Ted Lilly took a no-hitter into the ninth.
John Danks played catch on Wednesday and said his left shoulder felt fine after his four-inning Minor League rehab start on Tuesday. It has not yet been decided whether Danks will make another Minor League start or rejoin the White Sox rotation.