4/10/2013 11:14 P.M. ET
Danks improves velocity in extended spring start
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- John Danks made his third start since the White Sox broke camp Tuesday afternoon in extended spring training in Arizona, and saw a slight jump in velocity, according to manager Robin Ventura.
"I think it was like 89 [mph]. He was sitting around 87 before, so he was up around 89, which is good," said Ventura, who heard of Danks' outing through pitching coach Don Cooper. "He threw well. He threw six innings. Got a little bit more on his velocity. Threw well, felt great.
"That's one of those things where you start seeing the velocity and he still feels good doing it, extending him out. I think he was up over 70 pitches. That's the good news, and he did well."
Danks is scheduled to throw again Sunday, staying on the every-fifth-day routine as he improves his velocity and command in the wake of season-ending arthroscopic surgery last August. While he's still a ways from rejoining the team as an active player, the southpaw will likely join the White Sox in Chicago on April 19, when they return from this 10-game road trip.
"We like seeing him, too. He's a big part of this. He's a good teammate," Ventura said. "It's good for him to have that on his mind to be able to be part of the team and come up and support."
Beckham out for series, eyes Friday to swing bat
WASHINGTON -- The ice pack fastened to Gordon Beckham's left wrist Wednesday looked more like a wrap featured on an NFL defensive lineman getting ready for a Sunday in the trenches than one for a second baseman.
But it's all part of the healing process for Beckham, who suffered nerve irritation in his left wrist while swinging at a 2-1 pitch from Gio Gonzalez during the second inning of Tuesday's 8-7 loss. Beckham will not play in the remainder of the series against the Nationals and won't even pick up a bat until Friday.
"I actually woke up this morning, and it didn't feel much better," Beckham said. "Obviously we're taking anti-inflammatories and doing a lot of work in there. It feels better since I woke up, but I think tomorrow will be the big test.
"If I wake up, and it feels better, I think it'll be fine. If not, we'll probably have to do an MRI or something. I'm actually happy about the way I've felt since I've gotten to the field and done some work to it. That's a positive thing, and hopefully tomorrow it'll be that much better, and then best-case scenario is probably Friday, I hope, but I don't know how it's going to respond."
Beckham was quick to explain that despite feeling better since the morning, he still couldn't swing. He's going through a lot of hot-and-cold contrast treatment and getting worked on by every contraption White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider has at his disposal.
Manager Robin Ventura thought Beckham might be available to run or bunt, but stressed that he wouldn't be swinging a bat. In the interim, Ventura intends to use a mix of Conor Gillaspie, Angel Sanchez and Jeff Keppinger between second and third.
Continued wrist soreness, which rolls from a dull ache to a sharp pain depending on how Beckham moves it, could lead to a disabled list stint.
"You'd think [about it] because you have to prepare for it," Ventura said of a potential trip to DL for Beckham. "We'll probably know by tomorrow. You kind of prepare for it, but you hope it doesn't happen."
"I'd like to be back on the field as soon as possible. But I don't want to rush this and make it a worse thing for the entire season," Beckham said. "As much as I want to get back out there, that's the smarter play and that's probably what we'll end up doing is be a little bit more cautious than we would be at the end of the season."
Ramirez, Viciedo attempt to adjust in-season
WASHINGTON -- Alexei Ramirez moved back in the batter's box in order see the ball a little bit longer with each at-bat, and Dayan Viciedo added a front leg kick as a timing mechanism to help his swing during Spring Training. Both of those moves became works in progress once the regular season began.
"What we are trying to do is bring awareness," said White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto in regard to his input on those changes. "It's not like we are going to pound our fists and say, 'You have to do it this way.' We are trying to bring awareness and put guys in the best position."
Manto said that Ramirez is making adjustments as he goes, and that he feels more comfortable closer in the box against certain pitchers.
"I'm making adjustments in batting practice and in the cage," Ramirez said through translator and White Sox coach Lino Diaz. "Slowly I'm taking it into the field, little by little."
Viciedo is hitting .174 (4-for-23) with two home runs entering Wednesday's game in Washington, but he struck out Tuesday on a fastball out of the zone after getting ahead of Gio Gonzalez, 3-0, with runners on the corners and two out.
The White Sox talked to Viciedo once again Wednesday about the benefits of the leg kick.
"Sometimes, when he misses, they are because of the timing," said Manto of Viciedo. "It's not because of talent. Once he sees that ... we've been down this road with him before."
Rios' homer streak ends, hit streak continues
WASHINGTON -- Alex Rios went homerless in Wednesday's 5-2 loss to the Nationals, meaning the right fielder's streak of consecutive games clearing the fences ended at four. One more game with a long ball would have tied the franchise record, held by six other players and accomplished seven previous times.
The record holders at five straight games are Frank Thomas, twice (April 14-19 and May 24-29, 1994), A.J. Pierzynski (July 30-Aug. 5, 2012), Paul Konerko (June 17-21, 2011), Carlos Lee (April 17-21, 2003), Ron Kittle (Sept. 2-6, 1983) and Greg Luzinski (May 20-24, 1983).
Rios had a double and a single in the loss, raising his average to .419 and his hitting streak to 14 consecutive games dating back to Sept. 26, 2012, with hits in all eight games this season. He also drove in a run with a groundout in the sixth inning. Lee holds the franchise record with a 28-game hitting streak.
"He's in a position now where he can sustain himself," said White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto. "He's truly ready to get and stay at the plateau he was at last year."
"Where he's at right now with his swing and everything, if he swings at strikes and good pitches to hit, it's almost impossible for him not to do damage," White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. "He's just that good right now."
Third to first
• Cooper remained at Inova Hospital in northern Virginia on Wednesday as he recovers from a bout with diverticulitis. Cooper could travel with the team for this weekend's series in Cleveland.
"He doesn't feel great, but there's a probability he will be going with us to Cleveland," Ventura said. "It's one of those things where when he feels better, he'll be on the road with us."
• The White Sox will honor members of the Chicago Fire Department and Chicago Police Department for their bravery and service by offering each member two complementary tickets to one of 14 games at U.S. Cellular Field this season. This is the second consecutive year the White Sox have provided tickets for Chicago police officers and the first year the offer has been extended to firefighters.
Last season, in recognition of the police officers' service during the NATO Summit, the White Sox provided department members nearly 20,000 game tickets.