7/20/2013 3:57 P.M. ET
Axelrod ready for challenge of pitching in relief
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- All 18 of Dylan Axelrod's 2013 appearances have come as part of the White Sox rotation.
That streak now figures to be broken, with Axelrod moving to the bullpen upon Jake Peavy's return and Hector Santiago staying as a starter. Instead of complaining about the move, the right-hander is ready to tackle this next challenge.
"I just look at it as being a team guy and being able to go fill a role in the bullpen for however long that might be," Axelrod said. "Just do the best I can. I'm just happy to be given that opportunity, just to be seen as a versatile guy that can go back and forth."
Axelrod posted a 3-4 record with a 3.73 ERA during his first 70 innings over 12 starts this season, as opposed to a 0-2 record with a 9.32 ERA during 28 innings in his last six starts. That slump eventually produced the move for Axelrod, who has a 1-0 record with 5.93 ERA in eight career relief appearances.
This bullpen change also leads to more of a daily focus as far as Axelrod's pitching preparation is concerned.
"You get used to the routine of starting, but I've been in the bullpen before," Axelrod said. "You've really got to make a change in your mental side of the game, where you have to be ready to pitch every day and prepare to pitch every day and not have those mental breaks where you can kind of just let your guard down.
"I'm trying to make myself aware of that and just stay ready. You have to be ready all the time."
Konerko could return to Sox lineup Monday
CHICAGO -- White Sox captain Paul Konerko could return to the lineup as soon as Monday, per comments made by manager Robin Ventura before Saturday's contest with the Braves.
"I hope so," Ventura said. "I haven't talked to him, but listening to what [White Sox head athletic trainer] Herm [Schneider] says, he feels pretty good."
Konerko has been on the disabled list since July 3 with a lower back strain. He has played two Minor League injury rehab games with Double-A Birmingham, producing one hit in six at-bats with an RBI, and will play Saturday and Sunday with the Barons.
Before leaving for the rehab assignment, Konerko said that he also had hoped to play one game at first base for Birmingham.
Third to first
• Dewayne Wise resumed his rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte with a 1-for-2 showing and a walk Friday. Wise his working his way back from a strained right hamstring.
• Former White Sox pitcher Marvin Rotblatt passed away on Tuesday night at the age of 85. He appeared in 35 games, starting four of them, over three seasons with the White Sox in 1948 and from 1950-51.
Rotblatt is a member of the Jewish Sports and University of Illinois Sports Hall of Fame.
• Seventy-three of the White Sox 93 games played before Saturday have been decided by three runs or fewer. The White Sox are 9-23 in their last 32 from this particular category.
• Nate Jones has a 2-0 record with a 1.99 ERA over 22 2/3 innings in June/July combined, compared to a 1-4 mark with a 4.18 ERA over 26 innings in April/May.
• Gordon Beckham's .333 average would rank him second in the AL with the necessary plate appearances.