6/26/2013 9:34 P.M. ET
White Sox shaky defense remains a mystery
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- If Gordon Beckham had the answer as to why the 2013 White Sox defense has been so miserable, the second baseman would have shared it with the team.
The facts are hard to miss, though. They have allowed 32 unearned runs, after allowing 30 all of last year. They also are on pace to commit 118 errors, compared to a grand total of 70 in 2012, and this by basically the same players who set a franchise-record fielding percentage of .9883 last year.
"I wish I had a good answer for that. You know I think we are all scrambling a little," Beckham said. "There's that thought of like, 'Hey, we haven't been fielding well so let's make all the plays. Let's do all this.' Sometimes when you do that, you just put more pressure on yourself to make a play and usually that kind of backfires on you."
Beckham fell into that trap in the ninth inning of Tuesday's win against the Mets. He raced in from second for what looked like a game-ending pop up to third baseman Conor Gillaspie, tripped over closer Addison Reed and caused a collision that led to the ball falling and the tying run scoring. Beckham stood up and answered all postgame questions about the miscue, but he is far from the only one struggling.
"There's no rhyme or reason. We just haven't played very well," Beckham said. "I don't think it's a lack of focus or a lack of caring. It's just not going the right way.
"People do the work, and they want to win. They want to make the plays. I don't want to see Addison Reed lose a save or Chris Sale lose a game that he could have won. But you know unfortunately that's the way it has gone. And we just got to keep battling and hopefully that's how we turn it around in a big way."
Morel returns to the Majors
CHICAGO -- The White Sox placed Conor Gillaspie on the Paternity List Wednesday, with the 25-year-old and his wife expecting their first child. Gillaspie is eligible to return after one game but could be gone for as many as three.
Gillaspie's exit meant the return of Brent Morel, who was put into the starting lineup. Morel was the Opening Day starter at third base in 2012 but battled back problems throughout the campaign. Those back problems have not been even the slightest issue while Morel has produced a .280 average with 19 doubles, five homers, 40 RBIs and a .373 on-base percentage over 66 games with Triple-A Charlotte this season.
"I've been playing every day with no problems. I just do little stretches here and there," Morel said. "But there's nothing I do to take care of it. I don't think about it too much anymore. It's been a good rehab.
"I'm confident in my ability and my rehab. It was unfortunate not to make the team out of Spring Training, but I went down there and had a good attitude and played well."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura wasn't sure if Morel would be with the team beyond three days but appreciated the work put in by the career .230 hitter.
"Once we got [Jeff Keppinger], you get a guy like Gillaspie who is left-handed, it made [Morel] the odd man out. But he has gone to Triple-A, gotten healthy and played well," Ventura said. "It's a credit to him to work at it and be at the top of the list in case something came up."
Peavy has first catch since landing on disabled list
CHICAGO -- White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy played catch prior to Wednesday night's contest with the Mets at U.S. Cellular Field, marking the first time he has done so since being placed on the disabled list retroactive to June 5 with a cracked rib on his left side.
The right-handed hurler felt natural throwing, although being pretty much inactive since sustaining the injury means Peavy will have to build up his cardiovascular shape as much as arm strength.
"I couldn't do anything to get my heart rate up to where my lungs would expand because your ribcage is affected by that," Peavy said. "Not doing anything for a three-week period is not ideal in the middle of the season to try to come back and be full strength.
"So the biggest thing is trying to come up with a game plan to get your legs back under you, get your cardio back where it needs to be and arm. Make sure you mechanically stay the same. A lot goes into it. We'll do all we can do."
Peavy remains unsure about how this injury came about, offering up that it was a gradual thing and that the problem was slightly exacerbated by him pitching against Seattle on June 4. In a strange twist, Peavy told the media that he thought he had a broken rib last year in Detroit, but it turned out to be a false alarm brought about by an old X-ray machine.
If the rest of Peavy's rehab work progresses as smoothly as Wednesday, he believes a return right after the All-Star break is possible.
"We play catch through the end of the week," Peavy said. "Next week I'm going to try to get on a mound and see how that goes a few times. Get on a mound a few times pain-free, and I want to pitch. I'm sure they are going to make me go on rehab starts which is OK.
"I'll try to keep those to one," added a smiling Peavy. "We'll see how that goes. It's obviously for the front office to come up with. But I hope that timeline we just talked about is right around the All-Star break and I would love for that to be a reality."
Patience holds as a key for Peavy, even if he's not blessed with an abundance of that trait.
"I'm getting older. I am getting wiser," Peavy said. "I'm not going to run out there anymore like I tried to do there in Seattle, tried to tough through. At the end of the day, you aren't helping anybody by going out there."
Great numbers, no wins for Sale in June
CHICAGO -- During five starts in the month of June, Chris Sale has struck out 43 in 34 1/3 innings and posted a 3.15 ERA. Those impressive numbers, including a 14-strikeout game against Houston and a 13-strikeout effort against the Mets on Tuesday, are good enough for a 0-4 record.
"It's peculiar, I guess, from the outside looking in," a smiling Sale said. "But this is baseball. Crazy things happen."
Sale became the first pitcher since Arizona's Randy Johnson in 2004 to make two starts in a season with eight-plus innings and 13-plus strikeouts and not earn a win in either. He also has received just nine runs of support during this winless stretch, but Sale doesn't seem to mind the extra challenge.
"Look at what happened last year," Sale said. "There were times I was running out in the third inning with an 8-0 lead or 4-0 after the first. You just have to work a little bit harder for it. I'm fine with that. I like pitching in those games. I want to be that guy to win those 2-1 and 3-1 games."
"It's just hard luck," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "It can be frustrating, but it's all part of what has been going on here. To his credit, he's still going out preparing and doing everything else. It's all he really can do."
Konerko misses second straight game
CHICAGO -- For a second straight game, Paul Konerko was out of the White Sox starting lineup with a stiff back.
"It's still the same, and he's got to get it better," manager Robin Ventura said. "There's probably a chance for him to swing it if we need it, but not enough for him to start."
Ventura has helped Konerko handle his 15th season with the White Sox by starting him 34 games at first base, compared to 39 games for Adam Dunn, and 33 at designated hitter, compared to 28 for Dunn. It's a plan Konerko was prepared for back in Spring Training.
After a slow start to the season, Konerko has hit .346 with two homers and nine RBIs over his last 14 games. Ventura hopes those numbers continue to rise once the 37-year-old gets through this nagging injury.
"There's days it's a little harder than others, but it's still fun. He still enjoys it," said Ventura of Konerko. "You can tell with the work he puts in and everything he does that he enjoys it. But everybody goes through this.
"He does a lot to keep himself in shape. It's just, nature does run its course as far as physical stuff and that's going to happen. It's worth it. I don't think he'd change it. It's just something that happens and he's one of the fortunate ones it's been able to happen to."
Third to first
• Jose Quintana and Hector Santiago will get the starts for Friday's doubleheader against the Indians, although Ventura hasn't decided who will pitch Game 1.
• The White Sox play just 40 of 92 games before the All-Star break at U.S. Cellular Field. They play 41 of 70 at home in the second half. The White Sox lead the American League with a 3.21 team ERA at home.