Backup role suiting Danks just fine

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Backup role suiting Danks just fine

Jordan Danks has played in at least 100 games in each of his full seasons since leaving the University of Texas to join the White Sox organization. Barring something unforeseen, he won't come close to the century mark in 2012.

Since being called up from Charlotte about a month ago, Danks has appeared in 14 games, starting four of them. He's mostly been used as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement, but that's the life of a backup at the major-league level.

"It's a little bit different," Danks said. "You're basically kind of chilling for the first four or five innings of the game before you start getting ready. It's definitely different, but it's a role I'm definitely willing to play."

Not everyone can flip the switch from playing every day to riding the bench, not knowing when the next opportunity to play will be. To Danks' credit, he has a hit in every game he's started and has totaled eight in 22 trips to the plate this season.

"It's something I've never done," Danks said of his backup role. "But I'm making the best of it, getting ready sort of later in the games, never knowing when you get to go in, so it helps having the cage nearby so you can get in there and get a sweat going, making it feel like I did start the game."

Danks, 25, spent parts of four seasons in the White Sox farm system, going from someone with blue-chip billing to being unprotected by the organization in last year's Rule 5 Draft. Any team could've selected Danks and given him a chance to win a spot on their 25-man roster in spring training. No team did.

He got his break when Kosuke Fukudome went down with a ribcage injury in early June. The Sox placed Fukudome on the disabled list and added Danks to the 40 and 25-man rosters. With the incumbent backup on the shelf, Danks earned his way on to the roster, and the Sox cut Fukudome loose rather than send Danks back to the minors.

The ultimate goal for Danks is to start, just like everyone else occupying a spot on a minor-league roster or major-league bench. But for now, Danks is just happy to in the major leagues.

"Anything's better than being back down there," Danks said of the minors. "I'll stay up here, I'll wait my turn and that's pretty much all I can do."

Todd Frazier's late RBI single lifts White Sox past Blue Jays

Todd Frazier's late RBI single lifts White Sox past Blue Jays

The White Sox haven’t had much success with runners in scoring position of late. Todd Frazier hasn’t had much all season long.

But Frazier’s two-out RBI single in the eighth inning Friday night broke a tie and the White Sox held on for a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in front of 27,196 at U.S. Cellular Field. The victory was the fourth in five games for the White Sox, who improved to 37-37. Frazier’s hit was the only one with a runner in scoring position in 14 tries for a team that entered the game hitting .245 in those situations. He finished 2-for-4.

Though Frazier has provided the White Sox with plenty of thump, he’s had a trying season with runners in scoring position. He entered his eighth-inning at-bat with Jesse Chavez just 9-for-61 with two home runs and 23 RBIs with runners in scoring position, including a third-inning ground out. But Frazier got a 1-1 fastball from Chavez and ripped it into left field to put the White Sox ahead and end a frustrating night for the offense, particularly the bottom of the order.

The White Sox had left a man in scoring position in all but one inning up until that point. They tied the game at 1 in the fourth inning on an RBI groundout by Avisail Garcia and pulled ahead in the fifth on a solo homer by Melky Cabrera, who went 3-for-4 against his former team.

Prior to Frazier’s single, Cabrera grounded out to first as Edwin Encarnacion made a spectacular stop and fell down in foul territory. Tim Anderson, who doubled and went to third on a fly ball, didn’t advance on the play. But Frazier made it all moot.

Carlos Rodon had another strong outing, though he surrendered the lead right before he exited.

Rodon struck out eight and tamed a red hot offense for 5 2/3 innings. The left-hander fell behind 1-0 in the second inning and looked as if he may be in trouble before escaping the jam with a strikeout of Junior Lake to strand two. That began a stretch in which Rodon retired 11 of 14 batters and allowed the White Sox to rally for a 2-1 lead.

But Rodon couldn’t hold it, in part because of a sixth-inning balk call by first-base ump Angel Hernandez that earned pitching coach Don Cooper an ejection. Rodon hit Michael Saunders to start the sixth and he advanced on the balk and tagged up on a fly out to center. The extra 90 feet became critical when Kevin Pillar’s infield single tied it. Todd Frazier made a diving stop on the play at first base and Rodon took one too many steps to tag first base just behind the slide of Pillar.

Rodon allowed two earned runs and six hits with two walks.

The White Sox bullpen picked up the slack. Matt Albers, Nate Jones and Zach Duke combined for 2 1/3 scoreless innings to get the ball to Robertson. Robertson then pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam for his 19th save in 21 tries.

Today on CSN: White Sox continue series with Blue Jays

Today on CSN: White Sox continue series with Blue Jays

The White Sox take on the Blue Jays this afternoon, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 12:30 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: R.A. Dickey (4-8, 4.08) vs. Miguel Gonzalez (1-2, 4.29)

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White Sox: No timeframe for Zach Putnam, surgery an option

White Sox: No timeframe for Zach Putnam, surgery an option

Zach Putnam is weighing his options after he had a second opinion on Friday and surgery is one of them.

The White Sox reliever went on the disabled list Tuesday with ulnar neuritis in his right elbow. Putnam, who has a 2.30 ERA in 25 games this season, last pitched on Sunday in Cleveland.

“(Surgery is) possible,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “But again, we are exploring all the options. We want to make sure we have all the possibilities laid out before us. It’s just one of the things we are considering.”

“Still parceling through the options and at this point we don’t have a specific timeframe for him.”

The White Sox bullpen already is short-handed after losing Jake Petricka to potentially season-ending hip surgery earlier this month. Daniel Webb is out for the season after he had reconstructive elbow surgery earlier this month.

The White Sox bullpen currently features three rookies as result of those injuries and manager Robin Ventura doesn’t see any way of avoiding using them in key spots. Michael Ynoa and Chris Beck both got in and out of trouble and earned holds in Boston.

“We’re gonna have to find a way to get nine innings in and they’re gonna get tested,” Ventura said. “I thought Michael did a nice job the other day. I think even Beck after the first hitter, it could have been a mess. I thought he really showed what he’s made of by coming back. He gave up the sac fly and that was it.”