05/03/2013 12:13 AM ET
Gillaspie earns a fan in Konerko
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The American League Rookie of the Month honor for April didn't go to Conor Gillaspie, despite the White Sox third baseman leading all AL rookies in games played, hits, home runs, slugging percentage and extra-base hits.
But Gillaspie, acquired by general manager Rick Hahn from the Giants during Spring Training, received the support of the club's most accomplished hitter in Paul Konerko after knocking out Wednesday's game-winning homer.
"He's doing great the first go-around here. He's getting better every day it seems like," said Konerko of Gillaspie, who entered Thursday's action with a team-high eight multi-hit games and hitting .358 vs. right-handed pitchers. "He can really hit.
"It's good to have that good left-handed hitting. He's just a good hitter. He's going to get hits. He knows what he's doing up there."
Rangers rookie right-hander Justin Grimm took the season's first monthly honor.
Crain may see increased chances against lefties
ARLINGTON -- The loss of a relief specialist for the White Sox, with Donnie Veal optioned to Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday, means a right-handed reliever such as Jesse Crain could get more late-inning work against left-handed hitters.
Crain limited right-handers to a miniscule .129 average against in 2012, but he also held lefties to a .232 average. In 2013, lefties are 6-for-22 against Crain and righties are 6-for-23.
"I think we are all capable of throwing against lefties," Crain said. "It's always nice to have that extra lefty out there to get hitters here and there, but we are all capable of getting lefties out. I'm comfortable facing either one."
With the extra power shown by Crain on Wednesday night against the Rangers, he should possess that added comfort level. With runners on first and third and one out in the eighth inning of the White Sox 5-2 victory, Crain threw two fastballs at 95 mph and one at 94 mph past Nelson Cruz for a swinging strikeout. Crain feels like his arm "has come around the last few games."
"When I came back from shoulder strain last year [July 21], my velocity was down a little bit. I think it's back at normal now," said Crain, who has not given up a run in his past 10 games. "It just feels pretty good. It's been nice to throw in the warm weather, too.
"You start throwing in the offseason and sometimes you get worried [the velocity] is not going to come back. But it's the same way every year. It takes time. The more you throw, the more you are out there, your arm to a certain extent feels better."
Hawkins joins list of injured Minor League prospects
ARLINGTON -- The 2013 White Sox injury woes have not been limited to the Major League level.
Jared Mitchell, the team's top pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, already was sidelined by a strained right oblique as part of Double-A Birmingham. And now Courtney Hawkins, the team's top pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft and 13th selection overall, left Wednesday night's game for Class A Winston-Salem with a left shoulder strain after diving for a ball in the outfield.
Hawkins, 19, will undergo an MRI exam on Friday in Winston-Salem and then be evaluated by White Sox doctors in Chicago early next week. The club's No. 1 prospect, according to MLB.com, had seven homers in 79 at-bats for the Dash but also was hitting just .177.
Keon Barnum, who was taken 48th overall in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft as a supplemental round selection, injured his left knee as the White Sox were ready to send the first baseman to Class A Kannapolis. Barnum had March surgery for a right hamate bone fracture and was working his way back.
Third to first
• The broadcast of Friday's White Sox-Royals game has been moved from Comcast SportsNet to Comcast SportsNet-Plus because of the Blackhawks game.
• Jordan Danks reported improvement in his sore right knee and felt as if he would be available Thursday with the swelling going down.
"There's a little fluid in the knee, but there's no pain at all. Really, it's just kind of range of motion," said Danks of the injury sustained while crashing into the U.S. Cellular Field wall Friday. "We tried to drain it [Wednesday] and it was a little too thick. It's just whenever I'm ready to run again."
• Chris Sale joined Oakland's A.J. Griffin and Baltimore's Chris Tillman as the only starters since 2010 to go unbeaten against the American League West in at least eight starts. Sale improved to 8-0 with a 3.12 ERA, two saves and 76 strikeouts in 75 innings over 22 games (nine starts) against the division.
• The White Sox have scored 53 of their 97 runs on home runs. They have homered in 11 straight games.
• Dewayne Wise was scratched from Thursday's starting lineup with a stiff neck. Casper Wells replaced Wise hitting ninth, with Alejandro De Aza moving from left to center and Wells taking over in left.