SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Dylan Axelrod has been named the White Sox fifth starter after they placed John Danks on the disabled list Tuesday.
Danks and left-handed reliever Leyson Septimo both were placed on the 15-day disabled list as part of three roster moves. The team also reassigned relief pitcher David Purcey to minor-league camp.
The moves leave the White Sox with 31 players in big league camp.
Manager Robin Ventura confirmed after Tuesday’s 11-2 win over the Texas Rangers that Axelrod will officially take over for Danks.
Axelrod went 3-2 with 4.76 ERA last season. He is expected to appear in the team’s exhibition in Milwaukee on Saturday.
“I’d like to see how he does,” Ventura said. “You let him get a run at it and see what he can do. … Let him go out and pitch and figure it out after that.”
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Although Danks has made many positive strides in his recovery from shoulder surgery last August, he isn’t to the point where the club thinks he can provide immediate help. Danks’ fastball velocity has mostly hovered in the mid-80 mph range. Prior to the injury, Danks pitched in the low 90s and he needs to regain some velocity to have a variance between his fastball and changeup.
The White Sox plan to give Danks, who has four seasons left on his contract, as much time as he needs to recover and build arm strength.
Rios: “I’m not worried”
Outfielder Alex Rios isn’t sure if he’ll play in Milwaukee, but he is certain his back is OK. Rios, who missed his fourth straight game Tuesday, said doctors didn’t find any significant damage when they performed an MRI a day earlier.
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Though manager Robin Ventura hopes Rios can play on Wednesday, the outfielder isn’t even sure he’ll play in the team’s exhibitions at Miller Park on Friday and Saturday.
“I’m going to try to be in games in Milwaukee,” Rios said. “I felt a little better this morning. It was easier to get out of bed and do some stuff. But certain moves, I still feel a little pinch, but I should be fine. … We shouldn’t be worried. I’m not worried. I know that I’m going to be ready probably either (Friday) or whenever we have to play Milwaukee or Opening Day. I’m going to be ready.”
Chris Sale said he’s no longer preparing for the season and has entered game mode. On Tuesday that meant incorporating his changeup more often against the Rangers. Sale threw the changeup 11 times -- seven for strikes -- among his 50 pitches and wound up with a gem of a final spring start.
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The left-hander allowed a run and a hit and struck out five in four innings. In 23 1/3 innings this spring, Sale allowed 21 batters to reach base.
“(The changeup) felt good, especially to lefties,” Sale said. “Hector (Gimenez) told me that before the game that we were going to throw a lot more changeups. ’These guys have seen your breaking ball and haven’t been quite on your changeup and haven’t seen it as much. You want to go out there today and simulate a real game.’ ”
-- The White Sox announced former outfielder Bo Jackson (1991-93) will throw out the first pitch on Opening Day. The team also announced only a limited amount of standing room only tickets remain for the April 1 contest.
-- Jeff Keppinger had two more hits in three at-bats to raise his average to .476. Utility man Angel Sanchez went 3-for-4 with a solo homer and is hitting .324.
-- Dayan Viciedo blasted a three-run home run, his third of the spring, and went 2-for-4. Viciedo has 14 RBIs this spring.
-- Nate Jones, Matt Lindstrom and Donnie Veal each pitched 2/3 of an inning without giving up a run. Addison Reed pitched a scoreless inning.
-- Adam Dunn doubled in a run in two at-bats and also walked.
-- Minor-leaguer Brandon Short homered twice and also caught a runaway umbrella in the outfield.