CHICAGO -- Starting pitchers usually are creatures of habit, knowing exactly what they have to do with the four days between starts to get ready for the next trip to the mound.
Having one week between starts, as all six of the White Sox starters will have had after Jake Peavy works against Cleveland on Wednesday, can be a tougher adjustment. But Peavy believes the extra rest can only be a benefit in both the short term and long term.
"There are no excuses on that fifth day to go out there and feel good and try to win," Peavy said. "Any bad comes out of this thing, as far as guys doing bad or saying they are not sharp, I'm going to have to say that's a hoax."
With this extra rest built into the rotation, Peavy has expressed a desire to go deeper into games than his six innings and 87 pitches from Wednesday's season debut in Anaheim. Peavy knows the White Sox will be cautious with him just 10 months removed from surgery, but since scar tissue breaking up in his surgically repaired lat area caused him enough pain to leave a Minor League rehab start on April 18, Peavy has felt strong.
"I'm certainly expecting to get stronger, but right now I have plenty enough to compete," Peavy said. "Today is my fifth day and I was telling my father on my way in and he said, 'How do you feel?" and I said, 'I feel like it's my fifth day and I could start today and I should start today.'
"That's just the way it is. I have two more days until I pitch. We have plenty of time in this scheme of things to get ready to pitch."
Santos has answered Guillen's challenge
CHICAGO -- A portion of Sergio Santos' current success can be attributed to a personal Spring Training challenge issued by White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.
Back in mid-March, Guillen told MLB.com that Santos was one of his biggest concerns coming into the 2011 season. It wasn't exactly worry but a reminder from Guillen for the 27-year-old not to get too caught up in his first taste of the big leagues. It was a message Guillen delivered directly to Santos during a meeting in Arizona.
The words from Guillen simply reinforced the same commitment Santos already had made to himself. But that discussion also showed Santos that Guillen held out bigger plans for him than a sixth- or seventh-inning hurler.
"When he posed that to me, it was kind of refreshing," said Santos of Guillen's challenge. "It was a manager who came to you and knows what you are capable of doing, and he didn't want you to get complacent where you are. He wants you to do better.
"Let's prove that last year wasn't a fluke. But it was never like the closer thing. It was more, 'You are going to be in better situations, whether it's the seventh or eighth.' Well, here we are in the middle of May, and it's the ninth inning, which is exciting."
Santos still doesn't worry about having an official closer's title. The simple act of him being brought in for the ninth shows Guillen's thinking.
His 15 straight scoreless appearances stand as the second most in franchise history to start a season, trailing Dustin Hermanson's run of 19 in 2005. Santos hasn't been challenged much in those 15, but even when he encounters an issue, such as walking the leadoff man Sunday in Oakland, Santos figures out a way to shut down the opposition.
"It's kind of like playing with fire, and I don't want to do it too often," Santos said. "But as soon as it happens, you can't change the past. What I focus on is the guy who is hitting now. He's the guy who can win the game."
Struggling Pierre's hold on leadoff spot tenuous
CHICAGO -- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has given some thought to moving Juan Pierre from his customary leadoff spot to the ninth slot in the order, with Pierre hitting .152 (5-for-33) in his last eight games and .198 (20-for-101) over his last 27.
Without a natural leadoff fit to replace Pierre, though, the veteran will stay first for the immediate future.
"We talked about it. We think about it," said Guillen of moving Pierre, who went 1-for-4 in Monday's 4-0 loss to the Rangers. "But in the meanwhile, [Omar] Vizquel is going to be our first guy?
"I don't want to unplug the thing with him right now. Not right now. Maybe later I'll have to do it. I'm going to give him a couple more games. We talked to him about it and we'll see how that works. If that thing is necessary, obviously, I have to do my job, and we'll see what we can do."
Guillen also stressed that he doesn't want Pierre to worry about stealing bases, but have a greater focus placed simply getting on base.
"He tries to put himself on the spot, 'I need to steal bases,'" said Guillen of Pierre, who had two steals in his previous 33 games and none in his last 10. "Don't try to steal 70, 80. Maybe he can't anymore. Maybe he can't do it this year. Just make sure you get on base. If you get on base, good things are going to happen.
"Juan is a guy that is mentally tough all his career. It's a struggle right now at the plate and on the bases, but if there's one [guy] I believe and have a lot of faith he'll come out of this, it's Juan."
Teahen in limbo; Vizquel gets starting nod
CHICAGO -- Mark Teahen has not played since suffering a mild strain of his right oblique during last Wednesday's series finale in Anaheim. But White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen still wasn't sure as of Monday whether Teahen would need a trip to the disabled list.
"We might have to wait until tomorrow to see what's happening," Guillen said. "I asked him if he's available to pinch-hit and he said he can. We have to see how he feels tomorrow to see if he can play every day."
Monday's start at third went to Omar Vizquel, with Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis on the mound. Guillen plans to split time between Brent Morel and Vizquel, who entered Monday hitting .350.
"This guy has been so good for us and you want to play him every day," said Guillen of the 44-year-old Vizquel. "But you can't."Vizquel had one of the five White Sox hits against Lewis in the right-hander's shutout victory to extend his hitting streak to five games.
Third to first
The White Sox have been shut out five times this season and four times since April 23. Opponents have been successful in 15 of the last 16 stolen-base attempts against the White Sox. The White Sox bullpen has allowed just one unearned run in 25 innings over the last nine games and has a 0.31 ERA in the last 12. A.J. Pierzynski is hitting .391 in his last six games.