CHICAGO -- The tragic Oklahoma tornado drew the attention of White Sox infielder Conor Gillaspie because he also is an amateur storm chaser with a strong interest and knowledge of the weather. But there are former college teammates of Gillaspie at Wichita St. who live in the area of the destruction.
"I just can't get a hold of anybody because all the cellphones are down, phones are down, power's pretty much out everywhere in that area," Gillaspie said. "It's a sad day for a lot of people down there. I feel for them.
"I've been around destruction like that. This is pretty much the third or fourth year in a row that we've had a tornado of this magnitude: A couple of years ago in Alabama and Mississippi, Joplin, Missouri, and now Oklahoma again.
"It's pretty much every year in that same two or three counties down there where you see this happen. It's unfortunate but it could have been a lot worse. I know it's horrific for the people that have lost lives down there and I feel awful for them."
Gillaspie has never been part of a tornado but has followed all of the ones that have taken place over the past three or four years.
"You have plenty of warning. It obviously doesn't happen out of the clear blue," Gillaspie said. "It might seem like it does, but there's a lot of factors that play into these types of events.
"For the most part, people in that area are pretty well in tune to what's going on. There's not a whole lot of words that can describe, I'm sure, what those people saw and what they heard that day."
Phegley making noise at Triple-A Charlotte
CHICAGO -- The .333 average, 11 doubles, 10 homers and 28 RBIs produced by catcher Josh Phegley at Triple-A Charlotte certainly are numbers that have caught the eye of White Sox fans. Phegley, 25, also has impressed many throughout the White Sox organization.
But this great start for Phegley doesn't mean he'll be with the White Sox playing every day any time in the near future. The team's confidence remains high in Tyler Flowers and Hector Gimenez.
"I don't know if that's entirely fair to anybody, in part because we've done a tremendous job as a pitching staff overall," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn told MLB.com when asked about Phegley coming to the Majors immediately. "When I talk about run prevention or the pitching staff or what we've been able to do from our starters or in the bullpen, some of that credit has to go to Tyler and Hector Gimenez and what they've been able to do with the pitching staff.
"When you make a switch at an integral position like that, you have to look at sort of the potential of the unintended consequences. It's not just an offensive change. There's also a very important defensive component. We are on a good roll right now from what our pitchers are doing.
"Nor is it reasonable to say, 'All right, Josh is hitting (.333) in Triple-A so come up here and do the same thing in his Major League debut and then take over this pitching staff and let's go,'" Hahn said. "That being said, I do think that Josh is showing himself capable of potentially being an impact catcher at the Major League level."
Phegley won a Minor League Gold Glove last year, after he was limited to 48 games in 2010 because of a battle with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, a rare autoimmune disorder that lowers platelet count. The sandwich pick from the 2009 First-Year Player Draft is fully healthy and showing it on the field.
"In terms of his performance, it has been outstanding," Hahn said. "He's been one of the best hitters in the International League thus far and he's done a nice job handling the staff.
"He's now able to fully convert on that potential without having to worry about any of the health issues or the side effects from any of the treatments. It's nice to see on a personal standpoint a player who had to fight through some difficult things to achieve at this level."
Marlins series loses homecoming aspect
CHICAGO -- White Sox fans and players circled this coming weekend on the 2013 baseball calendar when the schedule was first released last September. The Marlins were coming to town, with Ozzie Guillen leading the team and Mark Buehrle as part of the starting rotation -- two key components to the 2005 White Sox World Series run.
But Guillen was replaced as Marlins manager in late October and Buehrle was traded to the Blue Jays, with the White Sox already having faced him in April. Now this weekend's get together becomes another Interleague series.
"I don't know if disappointed is the word but you are disappointed not to see them over there," said White Sox pitcher John Danks, who admitted to everyone being a little excited by the prospect of this series when the schedule was released. "It would have been a fun series had they been here. Hopefully, it will just be a good weekend for the White Sox."
"You got Ozzie coming, [former White Sox bench coach] Joey [Cora] and Buehrle, but obviously all that has changed," White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers said. "That would have been interesting to see."
Guillen was an iconic figure for more than two decades as a player and a manager with the White Sox, although he had a somewhat turbulent departure after the 2011 season. During a Wednesday morning interview on WGN 720 AM radio's Jonathon Brandmeier Show, Guillen talked with fondness of the White Sox as one of the topics covered in the 30-minute segment.
"If I say I hate the White Sox, that would be very stupid," said Guillen, whose foundation is hosting a charitable fundraiser Wednesday night at The Grid in Chicago. "I grew up with the White Sox. I'm a White Sox fan and Bulls fan. I love Robin Ventura. I love [general manager] Rick Hahn. I still have a lot of friends with the White Sox."
Danks to start Friday; Sale eyeing Tuesday
CHICAGO -- John Danks officially was named the White Sox starter for Friday's series opener against the Marlins by manager Robin Ventura following Wednesday's 6-2 loss to Boston.
It will be Danks' first big league start since May 19, 2012, when he shut out the Cubs over 6 1/3 innings at Wrigley Field. Danks started the 2013 season on the disabled list and went through four Minor League rehab starts to help build up arm strength following August arthroscopic season-ending shoulder surgery last year.
"This is exciting news," Danks said. "It was like Christmas Day when they told me. Now the ball is in my court. I have to go out there and win a ballgame."
"He wouldn't be here in this spot if we were expecting him to go four [innings]," said Ventura. "He's ready to go and he feels he's strong enough and is going to get us a good chance to win."
Chris Sale, on the other hand, is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday against the Cubs after being scratched Wednesday with a mild case of shoulder tendinitis.
"There's going to be an extended time here where he's not going to do anything and then you'll kind of assess it," said Ventura of Sale. "With him skipping a start, it's one of those where he was voicing concerns about his shoulder being a little sore.
"I don't know if it's overreacting, but it's being very cautious of how we handle him going forward. It's something that hasn't come up before, so let's take care of it now."
Ventura said the team would have the same reaction for any starter talking about soreness, not just the 24-year-old cornerstone of their franchise with a 5-2 record, 2.53 ERA and .192 opponents average against. Sale guaranteed a return against the Cubs, but Ventura said it's too early to have to make that call.
"He wants to go pitch tonight. It's us taking the ball out of his hands," Ventura said. "It's not his decision. You just talk to him about how he's feeling. We'll go from that. Again, I expect him to be ready to go when his next turn comes up."
Dunn able to swing through back pain
CHICAGO -- The bad news for Adam Dunn is that the back pain knocking him from Saturday's game in Los Angeles continues to be an issue. The good news is that it's not affecting the big man's swing.
"It only bothered me twice swinging and they were both on pitches that I shouldn't have even swung at," Dunn said. "So that's kind of a good punishment for me for swinging at them."
Dunn said that Sunday night's flight home from Anaheim was tough, but he tried to stand up and move around as much as possible. His biggest issue with the defensive component currently removed is getting loose before each bat.
"I have to probably go two or three batters before I normally do just to go and get loose again," said Dunn, who added that laying down makes the pain worse and sitting down makes it stiff. "Other than that, it's pretty much the same.
"Again, I never had any back problems. I don't consider this a back problem really. But I don't know. I guess it just has to run its course."
Third to first
• Prior to Wednesday's loss, White Sox starters had a 13-7 record with a 2.86 ERA and 20 quality starts over the previous 31 games.
• Addison Reed's 16 saves rank second in the American League behind Mariano Rivera's 17. Reed's 94.1 save percentage (16-for-17) places him fifth in the AL.
• Gordon Beckham is 6-for-18 with two RBIs and five runs scored over four injury rehab games with Triple-A Charlotte. Angel Sanchez is now 7-for-23 with six RBIs and four runs scored over seven rehab games with the Knights.
• Alex Rios and Carlos Gonzalez are the only current Major Leaguers with at least 10 homers and eight stolen bases.