4/23/2014 11:08 P.M. ET
Putnam 'calms waters' in White Sox bullpen
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
DETROIT -- When Zach Putnam was growing up in Ann Arbor, Mich., he counted the Tigers as his favorite baseball team. But the White Sox right-hander had no trouble setting a personal high with four strikeouts Tuesday night against that one-time favorite.
"Not anymore," Putnam said. "I've been in pro ball long enough now where it has lost the magic of the team you rooted for growing up."
Putnam's parents attended the first two games of this four-game set and some of his extended family made the trip Wednesday. He also was able to return to his family home in Ann Arbor.
"It has been nice being here," Putnam said.
Since joining the White Sox on April 17, Putnam has worked 4 1/3 innings over two games. He continues to feature a split-finger pitch that was crucial to his gaining notice during Spring Training and has been successful at the big league level.
"That has kind of been my bread and butter for a few years now," said Putnam. "I used it a lot last night, had some success. I'll continue to work on it and work on the cutter, too, as kind of as a third pitch to expand the arsenal a little bit."
"You're not necessarily bringing him in for a righty or lefty," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "He has the ability to be able to throw a split like that, which is tough on a righty or a lefty. Nothing really bothers him as far as bringing him in for any situation. He's kind of calmed the waters a bit since we've had him in our bullpen."
Sale doesn't foresee changes coming to arsenal
DETROIT -- Chris Sale has evolved as a starting pitcher from his first trip to the mound as part of the rotation in 2012 to his 127-pitch, one-hit effort over seven innings last Thursday against the Red Sox.
But even with this current flexor muscle strain producing his first trip to the disabled list, Sale doesn't believe his pitching repertoire has to drastically change for health reasons.
"I don't think there's any need for change quite yet," Sale said. "It's more staying on top of things. Maybe just more forearm work, more shoulder work. This is, I don't want to say this is any more crazy than in years past.
"We are just kind of on a lack for off-days so we had to take the route that we took. Unfortunately, that means missing probably one more start than I should, but at the same time, it's probably better to get more rest than rush back into things."
The highly competitive Sale would have liked to match up against Justin Verlander on Tuesday and then David Price on Sunday but seems at peace with what he believes will be a short break. Sale is going through hot and cold contrasting, ultrasound and stim presently, which is "nothing out of the norm," as he pointed out.
As far as just moving around, Sale has seen an improvement in a few days.
"Obviously, I haven't thrown a baseball, so that will be the ultimate test," Sale said. "In terms of just daily activities, taking a shower, drying off, putting on shirts, it's a lot better."
There also hasn't been much attention paid by Sale to various speculation as to treatment options or what this flexor muscle strain could mean long term for his health.
"With the way social media and media is today, people catch wind of something and it spreads worse than a wildfire it seems," Sale said. "So, seems like everybody in the world has their opinion on something or another, whether they know about it or not."
Konerko passes Big Hurt in total bases
DETROIT -- Paul Konerko's eighth-inning double off of Justin Miller during the White Sox 6-4 victory over the Tigers on Wednesday set the new franchise record for total bases. Konerko sits at 3,950, while Hall of Famer Frank Thomas is No. 2 at 3,949.
Konerko had three hits Wednesday and has four hits in his last five at-bats, giving him 2,302 for his career.
"Listen, any time you hear franchise lead or something like that, that's cool," said Konerko. "I mean, you know, again it's always something you enjoy.
"I think I'll look back and enjoy it more seven months from now and beyond. But it's, I think it shows I got out there and played, and you have to do well, but more than anything you have to be on the field to do it. I always took pride in that."
A ninth-inning single Tuesday night ended Konerko's 0-for-17 funk. He now sits at 5-for-23 on the season with two RBIs in his part-time role.
"It's hard for anybody. It's the hardest thing to do, sit around and then come in and get one at-bat a night, mostly, unless he has a run of facing lefties," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "He knew that coming in. We all knew that.
"Having done it myself, it's not easy, and you can't look at the board as far as what numbers are because every time you go in, you have one chance to help your team win usually and do something. It's a difficult thing to do."
Ventura believes Konerko is doing OK with the role. But he knows that being the person that Konerko is, coupled with his great accomplishments, there's a certain amount he wants to do better.
"When you get four at-bats, you can take one and think, 'Well, eventually I'll get another one like that.' Or setting somebody up," Ventura said. "You can't set somebody up when you're pinch-hitting. You're just trying to find the best thing close enough to be able to get it. It's not always easy. It's tough."
Beckham off DL, returns to White Sox
DETROIT -- Gordon Beckham rejoined the White Sox for Thursday afternoon's series finale against Detroit. He returned from his injury rehab assignment and was activated from the disabled list.
To make room for Beckham, the White Sox optioned starting pitcher Charlie Leesman to Triple-A Charlotte after Wednesday's 6-4 victory. The White Sox were short a position player Wednesday night, with Adam Eaton working through a left knee strain and Conor Gillaspie out of action because of a sore left hand.
After knocking out two hits, scoring two runs and stealing a base Tuesday night for Double-A Birmingham, Beckham finished 0-for-4 in the Barons' loss to Tennessee on Wednesday afternoon. Beckham's injury rehab for a strained left oblique covered 43 at-bats in 12 games.
Dunn appreciates 500 HRs, Pujols' legacy
DETROIT -- Adam Dunn has a suggestion for those who don't appreciate the true magnitude of Albert Pujols reaching 500 career home runs.
"If you don't realize how many home runs that is, go print out all 500 of them. That's a lot of home runs," Dunn said. "It's awesome. I'm glad he did it. That's just really a huge accomplishment. It's a huge number.
"I don't know if it has been downplayed, but it doesn't get the credit that that number deserves. I remember when [Ken Griffey Jr.] was going for 500, it was, it's such a huge number and accomplishment, but yet it was not publicized enough, I don't think."
Dunn called Pujols "a great guy" and "one of the best players of our generation, if not ever." Despite sitting at 444 career homers after his blast during Detroit's 8-6 victory Tuesday, Dunn doesn't think reaching 500 long balls equals Hall of Fame induction.
"Everybody seems to say that, but I don't think that's quite accurate," Dunn said. "I think that Hall of Fame should be for Hall of Fame players, not Hall of Fame numbers. I don't know if that makes too much sense. I think you know where I'm going with it.
"You know a Hall of Fame player when you see him. Obviously, Albert is a Hall of Fame player."
Third to first
• Count Verlander as another Jose Abreu admirer, after Abreu took Verlander deep in the first inning of Tuesday's contest.
"I was pretty impressed with him," said Verlander. "Not many guys go to dead center here. I made a mistake and he made me pay."
• Dunn was amused by Detroit reliever Phil Coke's quote about the "incidental two-seamer" he threw on 0-2 that produced Dunn's titanic ninth-inning homer Tuesday night. Coke called it incidental because Dunn hit it so hard that it almost caused an incident by injuring someone in the outfield seats.
"That's very witty," Dunn said. "I don't know Phil Coke very much. I can tell you right now I like him, because that's a good one. That's one of the better ones I've heard."