The White Sox entered Saturday with a 32-45 record, the second-worst in the American League and third-worst in baseball. The two teams that are worse were expected to be bad heading into the season -- Miami (27-51) traded away nearly every valuable asset in the offseason, and Houston (30-50) hardly had any valuable assets in the first place.
Few things have gone right for the White Sox this year, who looked the part of a 32-45 team in losing both games of a marathon doubleheader with Cleveland on Friday. But while it may seem like it, things aren't all bad on the South Side.
Adam Dunn is a big part of that.
The first baseman/designated hitter combined to go 3-8 yesterday, raising his batting average to the Mendoza Line for the first time since April 7. But hitting .200 isn't nearly as important for Dunn as an improving on-base percentage (up to .309 from .245 to begin June) and better power numbers (nine home runs in the month).
While Dunn struggled early in the season, he insisted he felt good at the plate -- only now, the production is coming around.
"He's probably had some of our better at-bats when you look at the last three weeks of him swinging the bat," manager Robin Ventura said. "Everybody strikes out, so I think some people look at it like if he strikes out like, oh, there it goes again. But his at-bats have been good. He's made solid contact, couple homers, driving in some runs even a lefty last night.
"He looks as good as he did last year during points of just being on pitches and having tough at-bats. He's grinding out a couple walks, maybe he probably would've swung through earlier of not looking as good."
Viciedo not close to demotion
Ventura yanked Dayan Viciedo from the first game of Friday's doubleheader after he was thrown out on the bases to end the eighth inning, a gaffe that only compounded a 19-10 loss. Viciedo was back in the White Sox lineup on Saturday, and while he's struggled Ventura doesn't anticipate sending the 24-year-old back to the minors -- although he wouldn't rule it out, either.
"That's always a possibility there, but you see the potential for him to be able to make it through and be a very good player," Ventura said. "Right now I don't necessarily see that. But any time you're dealing with what you're going through it's there for pretty much anybody."
Top prospect Hawkins' hamstring issue not serious
2012 first-round pick Courtney Hawkins was removed from Single-A Winston-Salem's game Friday night with a hamstring issue, although the White Sox don't believe it's more of a muscle strain and is not serious. Hawkins, who is hitting .189/.255/.491 with seven home runs with Winston-Salem, is expected to miss three or four days of action.
Hawkins was rated as the 55th-best prospect in baseball by Baseball America prior to the 2013 season and is one of five U.S.-born players up for an MLB.com fan vote to play in the Futures Game next month in New York.
Castro gets the call
Prior to Saturday's game, the White Sox optioned right-hander Brian Omogrosso and third baseman Brent Morel to Triple-A and recalled right-hander Simon Castro, who will serve as a long reliever out of the White Sox bullpen.
The White Sox acquired the 25-year-old Castro from San Diego along with left-hander Pedro Hernandez in exchange for outfielder Carlos Quentin on Dec. 31, 2011. In 75 innings with Triple-A Charlotte, Castro posted a 4.92 ERA with 63 strikeouts, 28 walks and seven home runs allowed.