Pierzynski (oblique) eyeing Sunday return

A.J. Pierzynski hopes to return to the White Sox's lineup on Sunday for the series finale in Texas. Chris Sweda/ Chicago Tribune/MCT

ARLINGTON, Texas – Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski has made significant progress since missing two games with a strained right oblique. He will sit out Friday’s game against the Texas Rangers and is expected to be back on the field for the series finale on Sunday.

“It’s good, it’s a lot better,” Pierzynski said. “From where it was three days ago, it’s 100 times better. We came to the decision I could play tonight, I’m available to play tonight, but we’d just rather, with the heat here and everything that’s going on give it another day or two. I’ll be a lot closer to 100 percent. They just don’t want to take the chance of having something happen and hurting it worse to where I’ll have to be out a couple weeks.

Pierzynski hit in the batting cages Friday morning and said that he could swing with minimal pain. Pierzynski and the training staff were most concerned with his ability to swing before he could return.

““Hitting was the final hurdle,” Pierzynski said. “I can catch fine, I can throw fine. Literally the only time I feel it is when I swing. It’s not unbearable.”

Robin Ventura said that Pierzynski will likely also miss Saturday’s game so he won’t have to face LHP Matt Harrison. Ventura said that they are just trying to be very cautious with Pierzynski at this point.

“It’s just a case of not pushing it,” Ventura said. “He could play, but there’s a few months left and we don’t want to risk losing him for two weeks.”

Other notes

Kevin Youkilis will start at third base after spraining his ankle against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday. He said that he has no lingering pain or issues.

John Danks (shoulder) has started a new rehab program in which he will bypass doing long toss and instead throw primarily off the mound. Pitching coach Don Cooper said they are trying this plan to see if they can get Danks to recover quicker. Danks threw 30 pitches off the mound Friday and is expected to play catch Saturday and Sunday before throwing off the mound again Monday. Cooper said the plan is to continue this pattern for the rest of the road trip then re-evaluate.

“Obviously it would be ideal if we had a longer time to build up arm strength, but we just don’t have that time,” Danks said. “I’m on board and kind of willing to do anything at this point to get back. I’ve been assured that I can push it more than I might want to. As long as I can get to a point where I can be effective, I’m going to try it.”