8/8/2013 1:44 A.M. ET
Danks to push hard through end of season
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- As far as John Danks knows, he will be starting every fifth day through the end of the 2013 campaign.
The White Sox clearly are out of playoff contention, and Danks began his offseason throwing program early as part of his comeback from season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery last August. But the veteran hurler is looking forward to consistent work.
"[White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper] and [White Sox head athletic trainer] Herm [Schneider] and I have talked about it," Danks said. "We all kind of feel at this point it would be more detrimental to me to miss a start. And that doesn't mean we get in the middle of September and maybe skip a start here or there.
"For the time being, the plan is for me to take the ball every time out. It's only helping me to go out and throw."
Manager Robin Ventura spoke again Wednesday about pushing young starters such as Chris Sale and Jose Quintana a little further than last season, with Quintana specifically understanding how that extended workload feels going into next season.
"It's beneficial," Ventura said. "On the other hand, you do want to protect them a little bit and not overuse them."
September spots will open up to skip a starter or two once rosters expand. Danks might be one of those starters who misses a turn, but right now, he feels great and ready to go. He has even been throwing two side sessions between starts to continue his post-surgery improvement.
"I've thrown at least one side between every start. I'd say half or a little more than half I've thrown two," Danks said. "They aren't full bore, but it's good to get out there and play catch and then finish with 20 pitches on the mound. I think it has helped me. There's plenty of stuff to work on, like I said."
Leesman to debut Friday night against Twins
CHICAGO -- Charlie Leesman will make his Major League debut and start Game 2 of Friday's split doubleheader against the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field, as announced by White Sox manager Robin Ventura on Wednesday.
"We needed another lefty," said Ventura in a highly sarcastic tone, with the White Sox already having four lefties in their starting rotation.
Leesman, 26, was an 11th-round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and had his strongest year for Triple-A Charlotte in 2012 with a 2.47 ERA over 26 starts. But he sustained a left knee injury during the International League playoffs and was rehabbing from surgery to repair his ACL during this past Spring Training.
The White Sox designated Leesman for assignment in April to make room for infielder Tyler Greene, but Leesman chose to stay in the White Sox system. Leesman ultimately could end up as part of the White Sox bullpen, but he will get his chance to start Friday as the 26th-man exemption for the doubleheader.
"There were points last year where he might have had a start," said Ventura of Leesman, who has a 3.47 ERA over 13 starts for Charlotte this season. "There was talk of having [Erik] Johnson doing it, but he's only been off the disabled list for two starts. We get good reports on Charlie, and let's see what we got."
Konerko praises Rivera, Jeter for character, success
CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko is 5-for-12 lifetime against the legendary Mariano Rivera, but specifically remembers just one at-bat against Major League Baseball's all-time saves leader from Aug. 8, 2006.
"I had a home run here to tie a game late," said Konerko, who homered in the ninth off Rivera during a game the White Sox won in 11 innings. "I do remember that because any time you have success off a guy, or a home run, off of a Hall of Famer like that, you remember that one. I know he's got me a few times."
Konerko, a classy, talented leader for the past 15 years with the White Sox, had praise for Rivera, the pitcher, who has dominated with an almost unhittable cutter and a perfect demeanor. But that praised extended to Yankees captain Derek Jeter because of the way they conduct their business in the New York spotlight.
"Everything you hear about [Rivera], he's a gentleman who treats his teammates great," Konerko said. "And playing in New York like Jeter, those guys are constantly watched and have to deal with so much more than the rest of the league, so to make it through all the years and do what they've done, it's amazing.
"They're extra good at all that stuff. And physically getting the job done on the field. It's one thing to carry yourself well but also get the job done at a high level, to put all that together, those guys are Hall of Famers at different levels. What they have to do is just different. There's nothing like New York."
Reed finding ways to stay loose during inactivity
CHICAGO -- Addison Reed has thrown three times in the last four games, after pitching just three times since July 21. That lack of activity becomes only natural for a closer on a team that lost 10 straight before the series against the Yankees.
But even without game chances for the right-hander, he finds a way to stay ready to pitch.
"I'm sure it will happen more times in my career where we are in a losing streak and I don't get to go out as much as I would like," Reed said. "[White Sox bullpen coach] Bobby [Thigpen], [White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper], they do a good job of keeping me fresh every few days. When they know I'm not going to get in or it doesn't look like it, they tell me to get up and throw off the mound and get some work in.
"I've never once this year or last year gone into a game and not been prepared. Every time I'm going out there, I'm prepared and ready to go. They do a good job with that. It's tough sometimes but it's part of the game and I'm fine with it."
Reed has come closer to mastering the much-needed closer's technique of having a short memory. Whether he pitches a clean inning or blows a save, Reed puts it in the past shortly after the end of the night.
The only one that got to him a bit of late was a blown save in Cleveland on July 31, which could have ended the White Sox losing streak at five.
"Maybe it could have got things going on our end on a positive note," Reed said. "We had the lead and I blew it. But I'm to the point now where if something happens, once the game is over, it's done with, and I'm ready to start preparing for next time I'm out there."
Third to first
• Ventura labeled Nate Jones as possibly the most confident reliever in the game following the right-hander's scoreless effort in Tuesday's victory. Jones has a 1.45 ERA since June 1 and has given up one earned run over his last 12 2/3 innings.
Jones has found a perfect balance between his fastball at 98-100 mph and control of his secondary pitches, such as his slider, which was missing at the season's outset.
"You can throw 98, 100 [mph] all day, but they're going to be able to time it and catch up to it at some point," Jones said. "If you get a secondary pitch up there, that makes them sit back a little bit and wonder, 'Hey, what's he going to throw now?'"
• Tuesday's victory improved the White Sox to 13-46 when scoring three runs or fewer this season.
• The Yankees' first-inning run on Tuesday became unearned when the wild pitch originally charged to Chris Sale was changed by official scorer Bob Rosenberg to a passed ball on Josh Phegley. Alfonso Soriano came around to score from second on the play.
• Sale became the first pitcher since Neil Allen in 1986 to win each of his first two starts against the Yankees while throwing at least seven innings and giving up no more than one run, per Elias. Sale allowed one unearned run over 7 1/3 innings on Tuesday, and gave up one run while striking out 13 over 7 2/3 innings on Aug. 22, 2012, at U.S. Cellular Field.