8/4/2013 1:06 P.M. ET
Tigers' Hunter surprised by Chicago's current standing
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Some of Torii Hunter's greatest career battles have come against the White Sox, primarily as part of the Minnesota Twins from 1997-2007 in pursuit of a division crown.
So Hunter is as surprised as anyone within the White Sox organization at the team's dismal current showing.
"All my years against the White Sox with the Twins and with the Angels, these guys always have been competitive," said Hunter during a recent interview. "I haven't seen these guys this way in my career.
"They always have been a thorn in my side. We have to fight these guys. Battle these guys. For years, they tried to take over first place from behind us. So, I've never seen these guys this way and I don't know what it is. I can't put a finger on it."
Hunter was strongly pursued by the White Sox as a free agent prior to the 2008 campaign before he agreed to a five-year deal with the Angels. He seems to be a perfect fit with the American League Central-leading Tigers but still holds some affinity for the White Sox and their man in charge.
"When I see [White Sox chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf], he's such a nice man and I've known him since I was with Minnesota as a kid," Hunter said. "I always shake his hand and tell him I respect him. I would have loved to play for him, but it didn't work out."
Garcia gaining experience at Triple-A, awaiting callup
DETROIT -- With the White Sox 2013 season plummeting to 28 games under .500 entering Sunday's series finale in Detroit, a close look at the organization's future takes on as much attention as, if not greater focus than, present results.
So, in a Sunday morning conference call involving Avisail Garcia, acquired by the White Sox Tuesday night from the Tigers in a three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to Boston, it only seemed nature to ask the talented outfielder about his targeted Chicago arrival.
"Hopefully soon," said Garcia with a laugh. "But I don't know."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Sunday that Garcia originally was sent to Triple-A Charlotte with general manager Rick Hahn wanting "to see what was going to happen" on the non-waiver Trade Deadline of July 31. Alex Rios stayed put, meaning Garcia gets a little more experience with the Knights.
Garcia has been playing center field for Charlotte, even at 6-foot-4, 240 pounds. He feels as comfortable holding down the position as he does playing right field or left field, having seen time in all three spots for the Tigers.
"I feel good in center field," Garcia said. "I have everything to play that position. I like right field, too. But wherever they put me, I'm going to play hard and do what I know. I'll work hard."
Described as a five-tool talent by not just Hahn but also people who watched him in Detroit, Garcia still has plenty of development ahead. Offensive discipline is a concern for a hitter who walked just seven times over 139 big league plate appearances, but Garcia doesn't need to be told that consistency with the bat is important.
He also understands the focus will be placed squarely on his broad shoulders upon his arrival to Chicago, with Garcia serving as a cornerstone of the White Sox rebuild as well as their big Trade Deadline deal. Garcia certainly will be a September callup and could get the call even sooner, spelling Rios, Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza in the outfield on a daily basis.
"Whatever happens here, I try to focus on playing hard and helping my team win," said Garcia, who battled through a bruised right heel earlier this season. "Now I've got a new team. The Tigers are the past. I'm with the White Sox. I'll try to get a win when they play the Tigers.
"I'm happy for the trade. This is a new opportunity for me to be here. I thank God for that. I've just got to keep playing hard and try to do something good for my team and help my team win games."
Ventura mulls lineup changes to 'mix things up'
DETROIT -- Robin Ventura has thought of making a few interesting switches within his everyday lineup to spark a group that has been shut out 11 times and ranks last in the American League in runs scored.
"Absolutely. I remember [Adam] Dunn led off before in his career," Ventura said. "Believe me, there's been thoughts of trying to do something that totally breaks the mold. Again, you can't go crazy with it. But there is a certain amount you want to mix things up."
Ventura's team completed two-thirds of its season with the worst 108-game record since 1970 (38-70). But as has been stated countless times before, the White Sox failure certainly is not based on lack of effort.
"It's one of those you get into a rut offensively, and that's where we're at," Ventura said. "Last night there was a combination of being in a rut and having a guy like [Max] Scherzer throwing that makes it a little more difficult, and everyone is going to blame it on not doing things well offensively. There is a certain amount of giving him credit, too."
White Sox await Yankees' Rivera's final visit
DETROIT -- If Robin Ventura has his way, the only time he will see former teammate Mariano Rivera on the field over the next three days at U.S. Cellular Field is when the Yankees closer is honored by the White Sox prior to Tuesday night's contest.
"He's had a great career, been a great teammate and I think he's a good example for a lot of people to follow because he does a lot of good stuff," said Ventura of Rivera. "A better person than he is a player."
According to White Sox senior vice president of communications Scott Reifert, the team will present Rivera with what it hopes is a funny gift and another more touching gift in honor of the all-time saves leader's impending retirement at the end of the 2013 season. The goal was to have the gifts connected to Rivera's experience at U.S. Cellular Field and Comiskey Park, where Rivera made his debut as a starter on July 4, 1995.
Rivera worked eight innings and struck out 11 more than 18 years ago, while allowing two hits in picking up the victory. He has found his success in another area of pitching thanks to 643 saves, with 41 coming against the White Sox and 21 at U.S. Cellular, to go with his 0.96 ERA during 31 games at this South Side locale.
There also will be a group of 12 to 13 people visiting privately with Rivera before batting practice Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field, as this unique meet and greet arranged by Rivera and the Yankees continues at each of his final stops.
"We've selected a representative group of people that will mean something to him, representing who the White Sox are," Reifert said. "It's a group of different people that will get a kick out of meeting and talking with Mariano. It really is a neat gesture."
Third to first
• It was a good night for the White Sox Minor League system on Saturday, as Stephen McCray took a no-hitter into the eighth for Double-A Birmingham during the Barons' 8-0 victory over Pensacola. McCray settled for two hits allowed over eight scoreless.
In regard to MLB.com's Top 20 White Sox prospects, second-ranked Erik Johnson didn't yield an earned run over six innings and struck out six in Triple-A Charlotte's 8-2 victory over Norfolk. Johnson has a 10-2 record and 2.15 ERA over 19 starts combined for the Knights and Barons, with 101 strikeouts and 76 hits allowed over 104 innings. Outfielder Brandon Jacobs, acquired from Boston in the Matt Thornton deal, had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 17 as part of Birmingham.
• Paul Konerko and his back responded well to playing first base Saturday night, per Ventura. The White Sox captain was in Sunday's lineup at designated hitter, but that was the intended plan for a day game after a night game. Konerko had last played first on June 23 before suffering a lower back strain.
• The White Sox starting rotation includes three of the Top 7 in the AL in lowest run support average. Chris Sale leads with an average of 2.47 runs of support per nine, with John Danks falling third (3.11) and Hector Santiago sitting seventh (3.65).