7/4/2013 6:20 P.M. ET
Healthy Beckham optimistic about sustained success
By Joey Nowak / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- After he took a step forward as a rookie and then, perhaps, a step back, the White Sox are hoping the production of a healthy Gordon Beckham this season is an indication of what he can consistently provide.
Beckham has played just 34 games this year because of a broken bone in his left hand, but he's hitting .331. He hit his first homer of the year in Wednesday's 4-2 loss to the Orioles and has now hit safely in 20 of 27 games since returning from the disabled list on June 2.
"It's kind of a feather in his cap, a testament to him that he's able to make it back," manager Robin Ventura said. "There are a lot of guys that don't make it back from that, and you feel it's kind of a flash in the pan because they can't get over that hump to be able to do that. It's a credit to him."
Beckham finished fifth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2009, when he hit .270 with 14 homers and 63 RBIs. But in the following three seasons, he hit a combined .238.
Now that he's healthy, he feels he can sustain this level of play.
"My hand's pretty much over the hump," Beckham said. "There's some times I feel it a little bit, but I'd say 99 percent of the time, it's pretty normal. I'm still wearing a pad in my batting glove, but its pretty normal."
Konerko to take time in recovery from back strain
CHICAGO -- White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said he felt his back get gradually worse as Tuesday's game against the Orioles went on, and he wasn't feeling much better a day after he was placed on the disabled list with a lower back strain.
"By the end of the game, it was not only painful, but not functional," Konerko said Thursday. "I couldn't even take the swings I wanted to take, couldn't even get through holding on with two hands -- that kind of stuff, where I knew the first night [back] would be a little bit of a battle just from not having played, but that night I knew no way this was going to improve until [Wednesday]. And even yesterday was like it was the first day after Kansas City [when he first felt back pain], and today, truthfully, might be a tick worse than yesterday."
Konerko missed the first six games of the homestand before trying to play Tuesday, when he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Now, he says, he'll wait until he's 100 percent before returning to the lineup after the All-Star break.
"I was probably 95 percent going into that game on Tuesday night," Konerko said. "It felt like it was behind me. I'd taken eight days off and gotten it all calmed down. Didn't see that coming. Usually you go into a game a little bit left over from an injury or stuff that's bothering you, but you come out and play its way out of there over a day or two."
Konerko and reliever Jesse Crain were the ninth and 10th White Sox players placed on the disabled list this season, but Konerko downplayed that as a reason for Chicago's struggles.
"We haven't been that unlucky," he said. "We've had a couple injuries, but if you match us up against any team, I don't think we've been any more injured. We've had some guys nicked up here and there, and there was a little stretch early but -- [Gordon Beckham] went down for a while, [Dayan] Viciedo went down for a while and I'm down here a little -- I think if you look at any other team, you'd find the same situations. I don't look at it like that's been the biggest problem for us this year."
White Sox option outfielder Danks to Triple-A
CHICAGO -- The White Sox optioned outfielder Jordan Danks to Triple-A Charlotte following Thursday's 3-2 win over the Orioles, and will make a corresponding move before their game Friday in Tampa Bay.
Danks is batting .135 (5-for-37) in 32 games over two stints with the Sox this year. He appeared in 23 games after being recalled from Charlotte for the second time on June 2, and has gone 2-for-22 since.
"We're just making a different move. It's nothing he's done," manager Robin Ventura said. "We've got to go give him at-bats. It's not easy sitting around and expecting to do well with one hit every two weeks. That's the tough part of the game."
Ventura said the corresponding move would be for a position player.
Purcey 'excited' to make debut with White Sox
CHICAGO -- David Purcey has seen U.S. Cellular Field from the visitors' side, but he'll soon be making his debut in a home uniform.
The left-hander, who had his contract purchased from Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday afternoon, arrived sometime around the eighth inning of Wednesday night's 4-2 loss to the Orioles and headed straight to the bullpen.
"It's really nice, coming in last night and walking out to the bullpen," Purcey said. "Just hearing the crowd and the intensity of the game. It just brought back a lot of memories, and I'm just really excited to be here."
Purcey is in his fifth year in the big leagues, but his first with Chicago after he was signed as a free agent in November. He's spent his entire career (6-12 with a 5.38 ERA in 87 games, including 21 starts) in the American League, and most recently with the Tigers. He has pitched one scoreless inning at U.S. Cellular Field.
Purcey joins Matt Thornton as the only lefties in the White Sox bullpen, which lost Jesse Crain to the disabled list on Wednesday with a sore right shoulder.
"Every opportunity here is great," Purcey said. "Anything I can do to help the team, lighten the load and try to make an impact."
Purcey, 31, was 0-2 with a 3.03 ERA (13 earned runs in 38 2/3 innings), three saves and 43 strikeouts in 26 relief appearances with Charlotte this year.
"Everything was working pretty well for me. Just making small adjustments and strides," he said. "Basically being aggressive, going after hitters and making them put it in play. Realizing you want them to put it in play quickly, and be efficient with your pitches. That's something I was really trying to work on."
• For the sixth consecutive year, the White Sox -- who honored a group of military veterans dating back to World War II before Thursday's game -- wore specially designed "Stars & Stripes" caps from New Era for Independence Day, as part of Major League Baseball's ongoing fundraising and awareness initiatives for the Welcome Back Veterans organization.
Sergeant Stanley Ksiazek of the United States Army threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
• Jake Peavy (left rib fracture) is expected to throw another bullpen session on Friday in Tampa Bay after throwing a "light to medium" session on Tuesday in Chicago.
"It's one of those [situations where] it's kind of how he feels and you go from there ... where you probably don't expect him until after the break," Ventura said. "It's getting better. It's not one of those [things] that you can see. It's more of what he feels like when he throws. … It's one of those injuries that it isn't anything in his arm, so you're just being careful when he's going out there that he won't relapse."
• The White Sox are at the halfway point of their season heading into Thursday's game, and entered the day 15 games under .500.
"We're tying to get through the All-Star break," Ventura said. "When you sit here without having [Konerko and Crain] in there, you don't have your regular guys as far as turning it around, and guys are going to have to step it up. We'll get to that point first before we start looking beyond that."
• Ventura said right-hander Nate Jones would be available out of the bullpen on Thursday after he was held out on Wednesday night.