Erik Johnson has at least one more start ahead of him at Triple-A Charlotte after a second good outing on Wednesday afternoon.
The right-hander, who has made five starts for the White Sox this season, allowed two earned runs and five hits with a walk over seven innings for the Knights. The performance comes on the heels of six scoreless innings in Johnson’s first start since he was demoted to Charlotte.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Johnson would get another start at Triple-A and that the team hopes he rediscovers the confidence that allowed him to soar through the farm system. In two minor-league starts, Johnson has 10 strikeouts and two walks compared to 15 walks and 18 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings for the White Sox.
Earlier this week, general manager Rick Hahn said he gave Johnson the same speech the White Sox delivered to Joe Crede and Aaron Rowand.
“ ‘We think you have a very bright future and can be a part of successful White Sox teams for years to come,’ ” Hahn said. “ ‘But where we are at right now, you are not in a position to effectively pitch at the big leagues. You have to go down and work on X, Y and Z and get that done right and you will be back.
“I view it as part of development. Development is not always linear. And inevitably some part of this young group we are putting together, someone is going to wind up back in the minors. You never know which one it’s going to be, but we know sometimes guys have to take it back half a step to take two steps forward.
“Erik Johnson still has a bright future, but it was important for him to go down to Charlotte and get his things right in a different environment.”
Sale throws again
Chris Sale appears to be progressing. Two days after he participated in a 40-pitch bullpen session, Sale threw another session. Ventura said the White Sox will continue to operate the same as they have throughout his time on the disabled list with a left flexor muscle strain.
“You see how he kind of reacts to this and then you go from there,” Ventura said. “But talking to him and seeing how he feels, he feels confident with how he’s progressing. We’ll talk to him after he throws today.
“You’re cautious with him. We’ve done this in the past. You’re probably more patient with him, just his reactions to how he has been feeling every time he goes out. He’s eventually going to be back. When it is, we’ll wait and see how he does.”
[RELATED: Abreu's jersey sale now in top-10]
— Adam Dunn isn’t in Wednesday’s lineup but that’s because Cubs lefty Travis Wood is on the mound. Dunn, who was limited to a pinch-hit appearance Tuesday because of a right calf strain, is available, Ventura said.
— The White Sox took the field 20 minutes early on Wednesday to take fielding practice, including pitcher’s fielding practice.
“You’re continuing to improve,” Ventura said. “It never stops. Even if you’re doing it well you’re still going to work at it. We’d like to be better at all of it. Until you’re 100 percent at it, you’re always working at it and trying to get better and that’s part of the process of going through a season. When you have a day like today you bring it back out just as a refresher course, stuff that you haven’t been able to work on for a while. You want to be able to work on it and stay sharp at it.”
— Prior to Gordon Beckham and Moises Sierra’s four-hit games on Tuesday, the only other pair of White Sox teammates with four hits against the Cubs are Alex Rios and A.J. Pierzynski, who performed the feat June 11, 2010 in a 10-5 win.