MINNEAPOLIS — With Dayan Viciedo still sidelined, Jordan Danks has played more consistently during the last week than at any time in his brief career.
The White Sox outfielder is set to start Thursday for the seventh time in eight games played over the last seven days. He was in the lineup for a fourth straight game as the White Sox opened a four-game series at the Minnesota Twins, something Danks has only done one other time in parts of two seasons in the majors.
Danks has handled his recent surge in playing time well. He has reached base 10 times in 25 plate appearances in the stretch with a homer and an RBI and scored three runs.
“It feels good to show I can get hits and put together decent at-bats,” Danks said. “I just wanted to pull some of the coaches aside before this and (say) ‘I swear I’m not a .140 hitter.’ It’s a different me out there, and to be able to help the team anyway I can and be able to show more consistency at the plate, it’s a good feeling.”
Viciedo has appeared in only three games since he bruised his left thumb while diving for a ball on Aug. 5 against the New York Yankees. He pinch-hit in Wednesday’s loss to the Detroit Tigers, and while he can handle the bat, manager Robin Ventura said Viciedo still isn’t comfortable in the field.
“He’s played well, and you kind of see what he does with it,” Ventura said of Danks. “You’re able to extend (playing time) out more than you normally would.”
Danks said the biggest difference is he’s been more relaxed and felt comfortable with consistent at-bats. He knows he won’t have to sit for a week and wonder when his next plate appearance might happen. Considering he has become all-too-familiar with the Charlotte airport, Danks isn’t taking this chance for granted.
“I’ve been a guy who has kind of fluctuated this year,” Danks said. “Now I’m getting some opportunity being able to prove what I can do and hopefully stick around this time.”
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As for when Viciedo may return to the lineup, Ventura still isn’t certain.
“Every day is just kind of a little better,” Ventura said. “It’s not enough that he’s said ‘I’m at 100 percent, I can catch the ball and go out there.’ He can swing, but some for reason or another, the way his hand goes into the glove, it doesn’t feel right.”
Too many singles
All 14 of the White Sox hits on Wednesday were singles, the team’s most in a game without an extra-base hit since they finished with 15 against the Cincinnati Reds on June 25, 1998. Last season the White Sox hit 211 home runs, the eighth most in franchise history. This season the team is on pace to hit 146 homers.
“Last year we were probably that way, where we relied on (home runs) too much,” Ventura said. “This year, it's not there as much. Those are how you get runs in a hurry and get you back in the ballgame, just like (Detroit) did. It would be nice to get some of those.”
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-- The White Sox are 15-35 against the American League Central this season. They have won two of 13 against Cleveland, five of 13 vs. Detroit, five of 12 against Kansas City and three of 12 against the Twins. The White Sox have lost 14 of their last 17 AL Central games.
-- The White Sox are 18-41 (.305) on the road, the worst winning percentage in the majors. The club has lost nine straight road games and 29 of 36 after they got out to an 11-12 start. The team also recorded a nine-game road losing streak from May 18-June 4.
-- White Sox starting pitchers are third in the AL with a 3.89 ERA.