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Jeter passes Brock with hit No. 3,024

Thursday's game between the Yankees and White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago is a huge one for both starters. New York right-hander Ivan Nova needs to pitch well to stay in the rotation. Chicago righty Philip Humber needs to break out of a recent slump.

For Nova, there are multiple outcomes for his immediate future that could hinge on how he performs in Thursday's start.

If he pitches well, he could stay in the rotation as the Yankees go with six starters for one more turn. If not, he might go to the bullpen or even back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to be a starter there.

Nova said he doesn't quite see it that way.

"This is just like another start for me," Nova said. "I just have to go over there, try to do my job, concentrate on what I have to do. I don't have to worry nothing about the things going on outside. I just have to concentrate on my job.

"I know there's a lot of decisions that have to be made, but I just have to be focused and do my job."

Nova did that last time out, winning the second game of the July 30 doubleheader against Baltimore. He gave up two runs on six hits in seven innings as his offense put up 12 runs in the first inning and cruised to a 17-3 romp.

For Humber, the goal on Thursday will be to revert back to the winning form he showed prior to the All-Star break. Since then, he's struggled in all three starts, going 0-3 and allowing 14 earned runs in 14 innings.

Prior to his July 30 start, Humber hadn't pitched since July 17, with the White Sox skipping his turn in the rotation following a rainout in Cleveland. In all, he's made just three starts since his July 2 outing against the Cubs.

"My expectations are his next outing will be better," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Like I said before, I don't know what to expect from him without throwing for that many days."

Yankees: A-Rod starting back up in Tampa
• Third baseman Alex Rodriguez (torn meniscus in right knee) will resume baseball activities in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that will most likely entail hitting off a tee and taking flips.

Asked how long it'll take for Rodriguez to get in rehab games, Girardi said, "I'm not really sure how much he's going to be able to do tomorrow. That's why I don't really have a timetable on how long it's going to take. But everything's went well so far. Let's just hope it goes well tomorrow."

• Outfielder Curtis Granderson leads the Majors with 98 runs scored this season and has already scored 22 more times than in his entire 2010 season (76). He's 24 runs shy of his career-high 122 runs scored with Detroit in 2007 and is on pace to score 146 runs, which would tie the most runs scored by a Yankees outfielder since 1950 with Rickey Henderson (146 runs in 1985).

• Closer Mariano Rivera has 28 saves this season and has reached the 25-save plateau for the 15th consecutive season (since 1997), extending his Major League-record streak. He needs two more saves for his 14th career season with at least 30 saves, which would tie Trevor Hoffman's record.

White Sox: Konerko possible for Thursday
• First baseman Paul Konerko was out of the lineup for a third straight game on Wednesday, but he sounded optimistic about returning for Thursday's series finale. He's been out with a bruised left calf since getting hit by a pitch in the fourth inning of Sunday's game against the Red Sox. He hit in the cages for the first time on Wednesday, but wasn't quite ready to return.

"I think I'll be able to play tomorrow by what I did today," Konerko said. "So we'll just have to wait and see. I wish it was today. In my mind, I didn't rule out today when I walked in today, but I know what I did in the cage wouldn't cut it."

• Shortstop Alexei Ramirez is 5-for-15 (.333) with two doubles, a home run and three RBIs in his last four games and has gone 29 straight games without an error. He has made one error in his last 39 games.

Worth noting
• Yankees starters have combined to account for 53 of the team's 67 victories this season. It's the most wins by a starting staff in the Majors this season.

• White Sox infielder Omar Vizquel on Wednesday moved past Brooks Robinson into 13th place on the all-time Major League list with 2,896 games played.

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