6/18/2014 6:47 P.M. ET
Banged-up Flowers back in starting lineup
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Tyler Flowers' sore left foot, which he tweaked while running the bases during Tuesday's 8-2 victory over the Giants, did not keep the White Sox starting catcher out of Wednesday afternoon's lineup.
If Flowers' slump continues, though, backup catcher Adrian Nieto could see more playing time. Flowers had 19 strikeouts in 22 hitless at-bats before drawing a key bases-loaded walk during a three-run fourth on Tuesday.
"Well, I think part of it is because he plays a very demanding position," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "He's beat up. He's had foul tips and all kinds of things that go with that [that] people don't necessarily get to see.
"But it's not always easy to go back there and catch and do what he does and keep your perfect rhythm and have everything go perfect for you at the plate. He'll weather this and will figure something out mechanically that can get him back to where he needs to be."
Nieto has made the jump from the Carolina League to the Majors as a Rule 5 Draft selection, but with Nieto improving as the season progresses, Ventura won't shy away from starting him.
"He's our backup catcher, so you've got to be able to use him," Ventura said. "You continue to see where Tyler's at physically. We'll play it by ear as we keep going."
Beckham wants to reward White Sox for patience
CHICAGO -- Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez continue to form a formidable double-play combination defensively and offensively. That fact stands as good news for the current White Sox.
It also could be a different sort of positive news in the not-too-distant future, if the White Sox decided to move either veteran to enhance their reshaping process as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches. Beckham admits that it has taken him parts of six seasons, but he finally feels comfortable and certainly prefers to stay in Chicago.
"It's a good problem for the White Sox to have," Beckham told MLB.com on Wednesday. "Having a couple of years that I struggled, I'm happy to put them in that position.
"But me and Alexei, I really don't worry about it. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen. If it's not, I'll be here and that, obviously, would be my first choice. It's kind of my home and I'm used to this."
Ramirez's four-year extension runs through 2015, with a $10 million club option for 2016. Beckham has one more year of arbitration before becoming a free agent, so the White Sox could weigh a multiyear deal vs. moving on to a younger replacement at second such as Micah Johnson, Carlos Sanchez or Marcus Semien.
"That's the decision they are going to have to make: Do we want to keep him for another couple of years or do we want to trade him away and get some return while there's still a return to be had?" Beckham said. "This is a business and you know if you trade away guys, it depends on what you get, but instead of a year, it's a year and a half or you don't get anything for him if you hit free agency.
"There's a lot of ways to go about it. With that being said, I feel like the White Sox have stood by me for a long time and there were some struggles and now I'm playing well. I've gotten myself back to the point where I feel like I'm a good player and it would be tough to leave at this point with a lot of unfinished business."
Abreu gets clear message to hustle all the time
CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu is ready to move forward after not running out a popup to first that bordered on fair or foul Sunday and then doing the same on a wild pitch off a swinging third strike Tuesday.
"Obviously, I made a mistake," said Abreu through interpreter and White Sox manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. "But the manager and the team have talked to me about it. I made a mistake and that's something I'm going to fix."
Bench coach Mark Parent, along with Diaz, talked to the hard-working Abreu in the dugout immediately after Tuesday's incident. Manager Robin Ventura also spoke with him postgame.
"'You have to hustle. You have to run,'" said Abreu of the message. "In that situation, you have to be able to show the team that even when things are bad, you have to run."
"He understands," Ventura said. "The position that he's in, he's more of a leader on the team, so he needs to be able to do that stuff. If he doesn't do it, nobody else is going to do it. He understands that."
Abreu rocketed a two-run homer, his 20th of the season, off of San Francisco's Tim Hudson in the first inning on Wednesday.
Lefty Blanco gets rare pair of hits off of Sale
CHICAGO -- Gregor Blanco joined an exclusive club during the White Sox 7-6 victory over the Giants on Wednesday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Giants leadoff man, who was the only left-handed hitter in the starting lineup against left-hander Chris Sale, knocked out two singles against the White Sox ace. He became just the second left-handed hitter to safely connect off of Sale this season, with the Angels' Josh Hamilton recording two hits on June 7 in Anaheim.
"I wasn't even thinking about it. I treated it like he was another left-hander," said Blanco. "I wasn't trying to do too much. Just see the ball and make contact. I did my job today. It kind of doesn't mean anything because we lost."
For the season, left-handers are 4-for-38 against Sale, with three walks and 17 strikeouts. Sale has yet to allow an extra-base hit to a left-handed hitter.
"Any lefty has an advantage over a lefty," said Sale, who has 75 strikeouts and 10 walks in 65 1/3 innings. "That's why you see matchups in the bullpen all the time, lefty on lefty and righty on righty. I really couldn't pinpoint anything, but hopefully it keeps working out."
"He knows how to get it to his spot, but it might be sinking to get that spot and the next time it's cutting to get there," said White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers of Sale. "I can't imagine how hard it is to hit because sometimes it's hard to catch the ball."
Buster Posey became the inaugural opposing hitter to get a first-inning hit off of Sale this season, with Posey's two-out single ending an 0-for-29 stretch. Over the first two innings this season, the opposition is 5-for-62 against Sale. He had gone six straight starts in which he carried a no-hitter into at least the fourth before Wednesday.
Ozzie returns to U.S. Cellular Field
CHICAGO -- Ozzie Guillen made his first game appearance at U.S. Cellular Field since his successful eight-year managerial run on the South Side came to a close at the end of the 2011 season. It also was Guillen's first live Major League game watched since the Marlins let him go following the '12 campaign.
Guillen was in attendance to watch his godson, Ehire Adrianza, who started at shortstop for the Giants.
"It feels weird, but it feels kind of nice," Guillen said. "I've seen a lot of people I've known for a long time. I don't know how you describe the feeling to see the game from here and then see it from the field. I think from here is a little easier than what you see from the field."
After arriving a little late, Guillen had time to say a pregame hello to Adrianza and Giants manager Bruce Bochy, a former teammate and roommate of Guillen in the Padres system. As Guillen was sitting in the stands, he exchanged waves with White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider and designated hitter Adam Dunn in the White Sox dugout.
Guillen spends his time working for ESPN, while also going to watch his youngest son, Ozney, who is playing second base for the Normal Cornbelters in the independent Frontier League. The Ozzie Guillen Foundation will be hosting a charity event at the Dana Hotel in Chicago on June 26, but on Wednesday, it was all about baseball.
"I've tried to come down to this ballpark for a little while, but especially this summer, I was sitting home and watching games and every time I planned to come, it was too cold and I shut it down," Guillen said. "Now, the opportunity to see my nephew and see the guys playing, it's my first time here."
Third to first
• Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez presented some early news about a 10-year White Sox World Series reunion to be held at SoxFest in January, by telling media Tuesday that he already had received his invitation. The White Sox aren't quite ready to make anything official.
"We certainly have some fun and exciting plans to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the 2005 World Series," White Sox senior director of community relations Christine O'Reilly said via email. "We're looking forward to having Orlando back, along with many other team members and staff from that season."
• Conor Gillaspie was drafted by the Giants with the 37th pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, but eventually was traded to the White Sox in Spring Training 2013. As a more mature player and family man, Gillaspie has developed into a steady force at third base for the White Sox. But he has no hard feelings toward his original team.
"I was really, really lucky to have been drafted by them and come up with them. I learned a lot of things, and it's not like I'm sitting here like, 'Why did you get rid of me?'" Gillaspie said. "I didn't perform up to standards when I was there and I'm OK with that.
"Everything happens for a reason. There's a plan for everybody's life. Truthfully, I wasn't good enough to beat out [Pablo] Sandoval. He's an unbelievable player. The reality is they treated me so well and they gave me so many opportunities and they gave me a chance to play somewhere else and for that, I'm thankful."
• In-stadium balloting at U.S. Cellular Field for the 2014 All-Star Game in Minneapolis ended Wednesday. Fans still may vote for starters at whitesox.com until Thursday, July 3, at 10:59 p.m. CT. Abreu sits second at first base, while Ramirez ranks second at shortstop.