BOSTON -- There are countless more important moments on John Danks' resume than his throwing session from 90 feet on Monday. But with the southpaw going stir crazy during his two months out of action because of a left shoulder strain, Monday's 30 tosses or so felt like a no-hitter.
"Oh, I mean, I'm giddy right now and it's still sore," Danks said. "Just to go out there and throw and feel like we are making progress again, it's definitely huge.
"I needed something positive to happen. It was getting kind of tough there for a little bit. I don't know how much longer we have. But for sure we are moving in the right direction."
Danks will play long toss again on Tuesday, take Wednesday off and then try to stretch it out past 90 feet on Thursday.
"I'm definitely encouraged after today and tomorrow will tell us a lot," said Danks, who was placed on the disabled list retroactive to May 20. "We'll see how we feel tomorrow."
Floyd goes to disabled list to rest right elbow
BOSTON -- The good news for Gavin Floyd and the White Sox is that an MRI on his right elbow and forearm Sunday showed no structural damage. The bad news is that the tendinitis and soreness in the flexor muscle has sent him to the disabled list for the first time in his professional career.
The White Sox placed Floyd on the 15-day DL Tuesday and activated right-hander Philip Humber, who is to start Tuesday night against the Red Sox.
Floyd had been hopeful of avoiding the DL.
"If we get this under control and minimize the inflammation, I guess we can hopefully get right back and not miss much," he had said.
"From what I'm understanding, we are going to give it a break so it calms down. But I don't know. I haven't heard anything. We are taking one day at a time."
With Floyd out of action, Dylan Axelrod moved up one day to start Monday. Jose Quintana closes out the four-game set Thursday night, with Jake Peavy and Chris Sale opening the weekend series against Detroit at Comerica Park.
Starters for Wednesday and Sunday remain undecided, although left-hander Pedro Hernandez stands on schedule with Triple-A Charlotte to work in the third game against Boston. That topic is under discussion between manager Robin Ventura, pitching coach Don Cooper and general manager Ken Williams.
"You have to make a move whether Gavin goes on the DL or not," said Ventura, referring to Humber's return Tuesday. "It's more of how [Floyd] is feeling."
Soreness for Floyd heightened during his last start on July 7 against the Blue Jays, with it becoming more noticeable on the torque of his off-speed pitches, and he felt it again while playing catch over the All-Star break. It was a Friday bullpen session in Kansas City that made Floyd take action.
"I was like, 'I don't think I'll be able to go more than warm-ups and without it potentially getting worse,'" said Floyd, who didn't want to pitch, worried that something was wrong. "I threw the next day after my bullpen on flat ground and it felt pretty good.
"It was just, I was getting mixed signals but I had to go off what I threw off the mound because it takes more torque off the mound. We took an MRI just to be cautious."
Being 'selfish' serves Sale well
BOSTON -- Chris Sale exited Sunday's 2-1 victory over the Royals after inducing Yuniesky Betancourt's double play to conclude the eighth inning, a double play which Sale started. The first-year starter won his American League-best eighth straight decision but stepped into the dugout with a little pent-up anger over the 10 hits he allowed.
Luckily, teammate Adam Dunn was there to put things in perspective.
"Adam was sitting right there and said, 'Hey come here,'" said Sale. "He goes, 'You see that? You gave up 10 hits. That [stinks]. You see that, though, right there? That's a 1. We are still winning. That's the most important part.'
"That was kind of like, it made me step back. It's almost like being selfish. You go eight innings and give up one run and you are kind of ticked off about it. I still went out there and gave my team a chance to win. So I try to not really focus on the bad stuff. Just keep going with what I've been doing and hopefully it will work out."
Sale admitted to feeling "stiff" on Monday, as his innings total reached 110 2/3. He expected to feel sore on Tuesday, as he usually does, but Monday's stiffness certainly wasn't out of the ordinary and will be helped by extra days before each of his next two starts. The 10 hits were the most Sale allowed this year, but he'll take that one flaw in an otherwise stellar performance.
"I made some good pitches in good situations and also made bad pitches in bad situations," Sale said. "They can hit good pitches. They didn't miss the bad ones too often.
"At the same time, whether the guy is on first, third or second, however many outs and however many hits I've given up, my main focus was on the guy in the box. I just try to get him out and execute pitches."
Pierzynski reiterates White Sox focus
BOSTON -- If it weren't for the itinerary given to him by White Sox director of team travel Ed Cassin, indicating a weekend visit to Motown, A.J. Pierzynski would not be giving any thought to the Detroit Tigers.
It's hard to overlook a talent-laden team with a 9-3 record in July and eight wins in its last nine games following Monday's victory over the Angels. The Tigers also happened to be the prohibitive American League Central favorite going into the 2012 campaign.
But with the injuries and player moves dotted throughout the South Siders' successful 2012 effort, there's no time for Pierzynski to worry about a very good team in Detroit that appears to be getting better.
"Obviously, we've been so focused on ourselves that we haven't really had time, I haven't really had time, I can't speak for everyone else, to pay attention," Pierzynski said. "I know they have been playing well.
"We expected them to play well at some point. As long as we continue to play well and do our thing, it doesn't matter what anyone else does. We'll take care of our own business. It will all work out in the end as long as we continue to do our job."
Pierzynski would rather talk about the AL Central frontrunners completing their first series victory in Kansas City since 2009, snapping a seven-series winless streak. He would rather focus on four games at Fenway Park with the Red Sox, another team battling for playoff position.
Then, there's the matter of rookie Dylan Axelrod starting Monday, Philip Humber returning from the disabled list Tuesday and most likely another rookie hurler getting the call Wednesday as Gavin Floyd's replacement. In a strange way, though, the injury adversity of the White Sox has sharpened the individual focus of the healthy players.
"That just made guys realize: 'If I do my job and take care of my business and everything and every person does what they are supposed to do, then things will work out,'" said Pierzynski, whose squad has a 7-4 July mark. "Sometimes you get caught up in looking at the big picture instead of focusing on yourself and what you need to do. That's when you get into trouble.
"You worry about things out of your control. We should worry about what we can control. Each guy does that, and it makes everything work together."
Third to first
The White Sox lead the American League with 20 triples. They hit just 16 triples all of last season. A.J. Pierzynski is hitting .500 (7-for-14) over his last four games. The White Sox are 11-for-63 with runners in scoring position over their last six games, after finishing 0-for-4 in Monday's 5-1 loss to Boston.