09/16/12 2:27 PM ET
Flowers behind plate as Pierzynski gets day off
By Jordan Garretson / MLB.com
The day off was Pierzynski's second of the month, as he also didn't play in Chicago's Sept. 4 game against the Twins. He has played in 121 of Chicago's 145 games this season entering Sunday, including 108 starts at catcher.
The matchup against Twins left-hander Scott Diamond on Sunday also made manager Robin Ventura more inclined to start Flowers, who is hitting .304 against left-handers, compared to just .192 against right-handers.
"Give [A.J.] a day," Ventura said. "A.J. will be playing tomorrow. So it's just kind of one of those early days. Left-hander, get [Flowers] in there."
Ventura said right fielder Alex Rios will likely also get an off-day soon, perhaps during the team's series in Kansas City later this week.
But expect to see fewer off-days for Chicago's everyday players as the regular season -- and, more importantly, the American League Central race -- winds to its conclusion.
"Guys are tired, so you're just trying to make sure you're still strong," Ventura said.
Liriano gets on track as a starter against Twins
MINNEAPOLIS -- Francisco Liriano won't be bumped from any more starts any time soon if he continues to pitch like he did against the Twins on Saturday.
Liriano held his former team to just one hit over seven innings in Chicago's 5-3 win -- three days after Gavin Floyd assumed his originally scheduled start against the Tigers on Wednesday. The left-hander was made available out of the bullpen for the club's series against Detroit after struggling in recent outings.
Liriano was 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA in his three previous starts, so Saturday's showing was a welcome sign for both Liriano and the White Sox.
"It is a relief," Liriano said. "My last three starts, I felt like I didn't do my job, so I was kind of upset a little bit. But you have to keep fighting until the end. I went out there today and I think I did my job."
Liriano's improved command might have been the most encouraging part of his performance. He walked 15 batters in 14 innings over the last three starts before walking two and striking out nine on Saturday.
"He was getting ahead -- I think that's the one thing," manager Robin Ventura said. "He just looked like he had a lot of confidence out there, just throwing strikes. His stuff moves all over the place. When he has that kind of confidence and pounds the strike zone, he's tough."
Ventura did not officially announce the team's starter for Thursday's game against Kansas City, though it will likely be Liriano. But if he is sent back to the bullpen again -- something he already experienced earlier this season when he struggled while he was with the Twins -- he'll be prepared.
"I've been there before, so it's nothing new to me," Liriano said. "We're trying to win a pennant race, and I want to do whatever's best for the team -- whether it's in the bullpen or starting."
Third to first
Paul Konerko had just one extra-base hit in his previous 52 at-bats at Target Field before hitting a home run in the third inning of Saturday's game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.