8/25/2013 6:27 P.M. ET
White Sox look to finish strong, play spoilers
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Featuring a record well south of .500, a recent three-game sweep at Kansas City and Saturday's victory over American League West-leading Texas earns the White Sox a title of playoff spoiler.
Those watching the White Sox and those who are part of the roster know there is more to the South Siders' 13-6 run entering Saturday than this baseball cliché. It's also about talent melding together and trying to put together a good finishing kick to positively take the team into 2014.
"Talking to the guys, they have pride and they want to play well," said Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski of his previous team. "Everyone expected them to be a lot better than they are. They are playing a little better now."
"I don't know that we're trying to be spoilers," White Sox starting pitcher Hector Santiago said. "We're still trying to win games and if that's what they want to call us and that's what happens, we still have to go out there and win games."
There has to be some satisfaction for the White Sox knocking the Royals' playoff chances down another notch, after Kansas City did the same to Robin Ventura's crew with a 12-6 head-to-head record in '12. This current period is more about evaluation for the White Sox, looking at young players of the future such as Josh Phegley and Avisail Garcia, but the will to win hasn't changed.
"For the most part, you're pushing it into next year. So you see who's coming to play," said Ventura of his expectations for the final five weeks. "Right now, that's what you're seeing with a lot of these guys playing. You just want them to be able to play and try to get as many wins as you can."
"We're definitely not giving up and not trying to lose 120 games," Santiago said. "We're trying to finish the season strong to have a positive feeling going into next year."
Concussion ruled out after Garcia's collision with wall
CHICAGO -- Avisail Garcia left Sunday's 5-2 White Sox victory over the Rangers in the fourth inning after running into the right-field wall while tracking Jeff Baker's game-tying homer off White Sox starter John Danks. Garcia could not make the play as Baker's drive went for his 11th homer and his fourth against the White Sox this season.
After hitting the chain-link fence hard with his right side, Garcia stayed on the ground for a few minutes, but had risen to his feet before White Sox assistant athletic trainer Brian Ball and manager Robin Ventura made it out to right field. Garcia still left the game, with Jordan Danks taking over and launching the go-ahead homer in the bottom of the fourth, making him the first player to homer in support of his brother, per Elias, since Billy Shantz for Bobby Shantz on June 3, 1955 for the Kansas City Athletics.
Garcia was gone from the clubhouse by the time the media arrived postgame. But Ventura said all tests taken showed the right fielder didn't have a concussion.
"Some of that is he was a little dehydrated last night. So I think that was probably some of it today," Ventura said. "He just felt a little light-headed. So [you] just take him out. He looks pretty good right now.
"When he comes in tomorrow, you look at it. He's already wanting to play tomorrow. We'll look at it again when he gets here."
Williams shares Civil Rights Game memories
CHICAGO -- White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams was an active and an integral part in a successful and informative Civil Rights Game weekend hosted by his team. Williams took part in Friday's roundtable discussion on Baseball and the Civil Rights Movement and attended Saturday's Beacon Awards.
In discussing the seventh Civil Rights Game in Chicago, Williams couldn't help but think back to the second Game in Memphis in 2008 and a powerful exhibit on Black Panther schools he witnessed on a tour of the Civil Rights Museum.
"Well, yeah, because my biological mother was one of the first members," Williams said. "I remember going into the Panther headquarters in Oakland, California and playing in the backyard. Some of my early babysitters are some of the legendary names in Panther history.
"It was, contrary to what maybe many people believe, it was a heck of a learning environment. And one that was not exclusive at all. That probably surprised a lot of other people too that actually recognized regardless of race, recognized those who felt that equality was a value in our society."
September callups to get immediate opportunities
CHICAGO -- Manager Robin Ventura said Sunday that the White Sox won't have a great deal of callups when rosters expand on Sept. 1. But they will have some important ones.
"They're going to have to get in there and [we're going to have to] give them opportunities to play," Ventura said. "How much? We'll see how that goes."
Right-handed starter Erik Johnson, right-handed reliever Daniel Webb and infielder Marcus Semien fit that callup description provided by Ventura.
Between stops at Triple-A Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham, Johnson, 23, has posted an 11-3 record with a 2.07 ERA over 23 starts and 135 innings. The No. 2 White Sox prospect per MLB.com fanned 123, walked 38 and has yielded 95 hits. He figures to go into the White Sox rotation for the final month, with the possibility of a six-man rotation that would ease the workload for Jose Quintana and/or Hector Santiago.
Webb, who just turned 24, has a 1.99 ERA over 39 games with 2013 stops at Charlotte, Birmingham and Class A Winston-Salem. He has 75 strikeouts in 58 2/3 innings, to go with eight saves and just one home run allowed.
Semien, 22, has a .282 average with 104 runs scored combined for Charlotte and Birmingham. He has 21 stolen bases, 92 walks and 19 homers, with a strong chance to split time with Conor Gillaspie at third base during September.
All three of these potential callups stand in the White Sox '14 big league plan at this point.
Parent ejected while exchanging lineup cards
CHICAGO -- The White Sox didn't even need a pitch to be thrown to get the action going in their 5-2 victory over the Rangers at U.S. Cellular Field Sunday.
Bench coach Mark Parent was ejected by crew chief Jerry Layne during the pregame exchange of lineup cards, with video replay showing Parent in a somewhat heated discussion with the crew before Layne made the move. Parent was not in the White Sox clubhouse postgame by the time the media arrived.
"Yeah, it was just something from last night," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Parent. "It's over, and [you] play."
That "something" was not specified. But the White Sox had a couple of controversial calls go against them during the first two games of this weekend set.
On Friday, Ian Kinsler raced around the bases for an inside-the-park homer when his line drive down the left-field line got wedged underneath some padding on the wall. Third-base umpire Greg Gibson ruled that left fielder Dayan Viciedo could see the baseball and did not call a ground-rule double.
It was Hunter Wendelstedt who called Alexei Ramirez out at the plate on a Paul Konerko single to left in Saturday's victory. The play was close, but on replay, it looked as if catcher A.J. Pierzynski had blocked Ramirez from scoring.
Layne was the umpire who tried to calm down Chris Sale during the Kinsler argument on Friday, only to incur Sale's brief wrath. Sale said after the loss that he was embarrassed by the way he acted in that situation and praised Layne as an umpire.
Parent's ejection was his second this year and third of his career, but the reason for dismissal was left open for interpretation.
"I think he was asking for his address to send him a Christmas card or something," said a smiling White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn of what Parent might have said. "But I guess no use in waiting around. You might as well just get it done. It was hot out there."
Troncoso feeling good after heart scare
CHICAGO -- On the night the White Sox arrived in Minneapolis to start a seven-game road trip a little less than two weeks ago, Ramon Troncoso woke up two or three times with pains in his chest.
The White Sox veteran reliever didn't think much of it at the time.
"But then the second day, it was when the pain was getting worse," Troncoso said.
Troncoso was placed on the 15-day disabled list with Pericarditis, which is an inflammation of the tissue around the heart. It's a malady Troncoso had for the first time in 2010 with the Dodgers, so he kind of suspected the same condition when the pain began.
Then again, any pain around the heart causes pause for concern.
"I got confused. I was worried," Troncoso said. "I don't really exactly know it was Pericarditis again. It's the same symptoms of pain of somebody having a heart attack. It's really painful, and doctors said that they didn't really know what caused it."
Having rejoined the team this weekend, Troncoso hopes to pitch again this season for the White Sox.
"I'm going to start my physical activity Monday again," Troncoso said. "I'm going to start playing catch and see how it feels, and I'm going to have a plan to throw a bullpen and go back to the game."
Third to first
• Santiago has fanned 126 over 130 innings this season, leaving him third behind Chris Sale (181) and Jose Quintana (130). But Santiago remains bothered by a high walk total, reaching 60 following Saturday's no-decision.
"Walks are still killing me," Santiago said. "I feel like I'm putting people on and putting myself in a situation I don't need to be in."
• Adam Dunn needs one more homer for his ninth season of 30 or more. He is hitting .301 with 16 homers and 45 RBIs over his last 67 games.
• White Sox pitchers tied a franchise record by hitting four batters in Saturday night's walk-off victory.