CHICAGO -- Over Matt Thornton's last 11 appearances, the left-hander has allowed two earned runs in 9 1/3 innings. The franchise career leader with 143 holds has added six to his total during that time.
So, entering Monday's series opener, Thornton is being viewed in a rightful positive light for his recent late-inning work. But the veteran knows one or two bad outings in his game-on-the-line role can quickly change that public opinion. Thornton told MLB.com on Monday that he understands the critics.
"I remember Todd Jones saying it in 2006 when he was with Detroit, I think. When you are a late-inning reliever, it's a pass/fail job," Thornton said. "You either get the job done or you don't. When you don't, everyone points the finger at you. I prepare myself every day. I know the effort and the time that I've put into my offseason and during the season to get ready for each game.
"Like I've said, I don't have a whole lot of time to work on things between outings when you are pitching in quite a few games in a week. So you go on the fly and make adjustments on the fly. You try different things at different times out there and you try to get job done as much as you can. I don't want to let me team down. I'm preparing every day to help us win the game."
Thornton's approach through good times and bad is one he tries to impart upon younger relievers on the White Sox staff.
"Good or bad, stay even-keel the whole time," Thornton said. "When you are going to be in 60-plus games in a season, you will have a bunch of bad ones and a bunch of good ones. I've bunched my bad ones together usually in a week's time. And it makes it look real bad.
"Just stay the course. I tell the young guys, when you have success, stay the course, do what you are doing, work hard. When you have bad ones, come in the next day and think like it doesn't matter what you did the day before."
Floyd to start Wednesday in rotation shuffle
CHICAGO -- Gavin Floyd will startWednesday's contest against the Tigers, with scheduled starter Francisco Liriano available out of the bullpen for the entire four-game Tigers series.
Liriano has struggled during his eight White Sox starts, with a 5.09 ERA and 27 walks over 40 2/3 innings, including 15 walks in his last 14 innings pitched. The southpaw took the loss on Sept. 1 at Comerica Park.
Floyd was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 27 with a right elbow flexor strain. But after three bullpen sessions, finishing with a 50-pitch effort that included curveballs on Sunday, Floyd looks ready to try to improve his career 7-2 record against the Tigers.
"This isn't a demotion," said White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper of Liriano's temporary move to the bullpen. "Now's the time we've got to think out of the box, got to be flexible, got to see what we've got using our people the best way we can to try to win the game each night. Obviously, it's a grind but where I'm sitting right now, we're two games up with 23 games to play. If we win more than the team we're playing, we're in."
"You just go out there and do your job," Floyd said. "No matter if it's playoffs or means a lot or doesn't mean so much, you got to go out there and compete and try to go out there and win. Take one game at a time, one pitch at a time. Don't put too much pressure on yourself."
The next start for Liriano should be this weekend against the Twins. But the White Sox also have the option of keeping Hector Santiago in the rotation, especially after the rookie allowed just one run over nine innings, fanning 14, in his two big league starts.
Jose Quintana's effort Monday could factor into how the White Sox use Santiago, as could their desire to give Chris Sale an extra day over the final 19 games. The options are there for the White Sox, and they appear to be good ones.
"There are [a lot of moving parts]," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of the rotation. "There could be worse things than having them."
"We're going to be looking at our starters," Cooper said. "Give us what you can, we don't have a number in mind. We have bullpen people behind them with today being a little different. We'll try to piece the game together. We've got confidence in the guys in the bullpen and we'll use them to try to get by each day and see if we can win."
Dunn remains sidelined; Youkilis returns
CHICAGO -- A strained right oblique muscle cost White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn his fourth straight game and sixth in the last nine. White Sox manager Robin Ventura said that Dunn was day to day on Monday and Tuesday "he'll probably be hour to hour."
Dunn spoke after Monday's 6-1 White Sox victory and said there was marked improvement in the oblique area, while hoping to test it by swinging the bat before Tuesday's game."When we get down to minute to minute, it will be a lot closer," said a smiling Ventura. "He has a chance at some point. But again, you don't know until he starts moving around, swinging the bat.
"He has [had an MRI]. It's not clean, there's something there, but it's up to the player and how [he] heals. [White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider] has got him in there doing stuff and everybody heals differently. So whenever he's healthy, he'll go."
Third baseman Kevin Youkilis returned to the White Sox lineup Monday after missing the weekend series against the Royals to be with his wife for the birth of their son.
"Baseball comes second to family. It's been a great weekend," Youkilis said. "It's good to be back with the team. We're excited, our family is excited and hopefully I can come back and keep this team in first place."
Former Met Ventura recalls 9/11
CHICAGO -- As the 11th anniversary of the atrocities and heroism of Sept. 11 approaches on Tuesday, White Sox manager Robin Ventura took time to remember that fateful day. Ventura was the third baseman for the New York Mets in 2001.
"It was a tough time. It's one of those things, I don't think we knew it at the time how important it would be just to do something else to create a diversion of guys playing baseball," Ventura said. "It was good for the people of New York to go to something, because it was in front of you. It was everywhere you went.
"That's really all that was going on. The efforts were focused on Ground Zero. It was a pretty emotional day. For the guys that were there at that time, if you were playing in New York, it still hits you."
Third to first
The White Sox rank second in baseball with a .988 fielding percentage, trailing only the Mariners at .989. The White Sox allowed a Major League-low 26 unearned runs entering Monday's action.
Dawn Harper, the Olympic gold medalist in the 100-meter hurdles, threw out one of Monday's ceremonial first pitches.The White Sox have won 11 of their last 14 home games and 25 of their last 33. They are 66-34 when hitting a home run, 40-11 when recording multiple homers and beat Detroit for the first time since May 14.
With his 26th homer during Monday's win, A.J. Pierzynski tied Carlton Fisk for second-most homers by a White Sox catcher in a single season. Fisk also hit 37 in 1985.