ARLINGTON, Texas – The Chicago White Sox go into the second game of their three-game series against the Texas Rangers with a patchwork lineup after riding a nine-run offensive effort to a win in game one.
Alejandro De Aza and Alexei Ramirez will join A.J. Pierzynski on the bench after injuring their wrists in a collision in the outfield during Friday’s game. Jordan Danks will sub for De Aza in center field and Eduardo Escobar has been penciled in at shortstop with Tyler Flowers still catching. Robin Ventura said he expects his backups to play well.
“That’s part of their job, being able to step in,” Ventura said. “Energy-wise, sometimes you get guys coming off the bench and there’s a certain amount of energy that can help. Usually those day games after a night game you get these guys that go in there and it’s a different feel. Sometimes it helps you.”
Ventura said there was an 80 percent chance that Ramirez would be back on Sunday, but that De Aza could potentially miss the rest of the series. Ventura also said that Piezynski would definitely return to his catching duties on Sunday, which would restore some normalcy to the lineup.
“Really De Aza is the only one that’s shut down for tonight and maybe tomorrow,” Ventura said. “Alexei could go play shortstop, but it’s just tender enough that we want to give him a day and hopefully he feels better tomorrow. A.J. could play if we need him in an emergency.”
De Aza still has quite a bit of soreness in his wrist. He is not likely to receive an x-ray, as the training staff believes it is a mild sprain.
Danks, who has been trying to embrace his new role of coming off the bench, said he was particularly excited to get a start in his home state of Texas.
“It’s really cool actually,” Danks said. “I’ve got a lot of family coming up. I told them I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to play at all this weekend. Obviously I’m not excited about De Aza getting hurt, but to get the opportunity is exciting with my family and everybody here.”
• The White Sox go into their second game in Texas with a particularly Lone Star flavor. Three starters for Saturday’s game are Texans playing in their home state, including Adam Dunn, Philip Humber and Jordan Danks. Escobar was in the Texas spirit, showing off his new black cowboy hat with a zebra print brim in the clubhouse. Ironically, David Murphy is the Rangers’ only starter from Texas for Saturday’s game.
• The Detroit Tigers took a step back Saturday in their race for the AL Central lead, dropping their second consecutive game to the Toronto Blue Jays. The White Sox will now go into their second game against the Rangers with a two-game lead over their surging division rivals. Ventura said that his team isn’t paying too close of attention to the standings.
“Baseball’s just funny,” He said. “I think the timing of everything is unique in baseball. The stretches teams go through. You have to be able to just kind of let that go and continue to play. That’s the most important thing for us: no matter what, you still put all that out of your mind and just play. It’s a long long way to go.”