CHICAGO -- White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski is very familiar with the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter in Mets' franchise history.
From 2000-03, Pierzynski caught Johan Santana with the Twins, and from 2005-07, Pierzynski hit against the southpaw as part of the White Sox. On Saturday, Pierzynski praised his friend's 134-pitch milestone that included eight strikeouts and five walks Friday night.
"He's one of the good guys I ever played with," said Pierzynski of Santana. "He's been through a lot the last couple of years with shoulder [surgery] and injuries. But to see him bounce back and do that was awesome.
"You always like to see guys you played with do well and especially the good guys you play with do well and have success. He deserves it and I hope he stays healthy and continues."
Williams focused on the present, not rumors
CHICAGO -- The trade rumor mill already has churned out Boston's Kevin Youkilis as a potential third-base fit for the White Sox, even with the Red Sox denying Youkilis is being actively shopped, the White Sox having a 9-1 record in games Orlando Hudson has started at third and a healthier Brent Morel on his way back from Minor League injury rehab.
If the White Sox do have any interest in the veteran or have checked in with the Red Sox about Youkilis, general manager Ken Williams isn't talking. In fact, his attitude has staunchly remained the same as the one espoused two weeks back at Wrigley Field, where his primary concern is the game at hand and the players in the clubhouse pushing the White Sox into the American League Central lead.
"These are the guys we are going with today," said Williams, turning to the bulletin board in the White Sox clubhouse and pointing to the printed out starting lineup. "This is the game we are worried about today.
"As for any adjustments that may need to be made, one way or the other, we'll deal with that when the time comes. That's what we are doing."
Williams always has been an aggressive man in charge, willing to make that bold in-season move to take his team from contender to champion. That demeanor hasn't changed, but Williams actually prefers the outlook frequently spoken about by manager Robin Ventura in going one day at a time.
"That's one of the things that we had some synergy on when I sat down and talked to him," Williams said. "Everything that we are trying to do around here, we are trying to do as a group. The players certainly see what we are trying to do and have bought into it.
"We are a team that is about as professional and workmanlike as they come. For me to start talking about making changes is inconsistent with what I've asked of them."
Waking up and seeing the White Sox atop the division certainly isn't a bad thing, and Williams will upgrade where need be for a team without many glaring holes to stay in control. But the Mariners are his sole concern on Saturday.
"You still can't forsake the process and how that's happened," Williams said. "That's through an attitude that has been as workmanlike, as professional and focused on the day's work as you can possibly be."
White Sox mindful of Sale's innings count
CHICAGO -- With another quality start turned in by Chris Sale during Sunday's series finale against the Mariners, the left-hander will inch closer to his Major League season-high of 71 innings pitched set in 2011. Sale's baseball high stands at 136 2/3 innings from 2010, when he pitched for Florida Gulf Coast University, Class A Winston-Salem, Triple-A Charlotte and the White Sox.
It seems unlikely that Sale will jump from 136 innings to near 200 in his first year as starter. So the White Sox will give him another respite at some point in the not too distant future in order to have the 23-year-old strong for the stretch run.
"He's already had one [break from May 1-12] and you look at the All-Star break and there's another one that could be of significant time," said White Sox general manager Ken Williams, indicating that Sale could get some time off before the break and then be used later to extend that rest. "Perhaps there is another one to get him to be strong through the end of the season."
"Obviously I know there's going to be something coming up soon," Sale said. "That's something we haven't sat down as a group and talked about yet. We are going to have to kind of figure something out. As of right now, I'm not really worried about that. My body feels good. My mind is in the right spot. So, I'm really just focused on the next one."
Sale's last "one" produced 15 strikeouts against Tampa Bay, one short of matching the White Sox single-game record. He leads the AL with a 2.34 ERA, and at 6-2 overall, that All-Star rest might be hampered by Sale getting selected as an AL representative.
The White Sox also may have the playoffs in mind, even four months away, when talking about Sale's breaks. If the postseason were to begin Saturday, Sale certainly would be one of the team's first two starters.
As far as an ultimate innings target, Sale believes that can be adjusted as the season progresses.
"What if they say, 'This is the innings' and we get to the innings and I'm still feeling good or vice versa," Sale said. "It's hard to pinpoint what a number is, especially the way this season rolls out. It's something that will probably come up and will have to adjust accordingly."
"Whatever we have to do to protect his health and to make sure he's strong at the end of the season, we'll do it," Williams said. "And that's whether or not at that given time it's in the team's best interest or not."
Thornton reflects on setting record with Sox
CHICAGO -- Matt Thornton's appearance during Friday's 7-4 victory over the Mariners gave the southpaw 425 games pitched as a member of the White Sox, breaking a tie with Bobby Thigpen at 424 for the franchise relief record. Thornton has made at least 61 appearances in every season since coming to the White Sox in 2006, and credits his work with White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider and director of conditioning Allen Thomas as a big part of his success.
"That's the biggest thing, just staying healthy," Thornton said. "Obviously I've done my job for the most part to be able to stay in one place for seven seasons now. A lot of times relievers bounce around a lot, two years here, a year here, three years here and move around.
"But I've enjoyed my time in Chicago and I love it here. I hope we get another 400. It's just been fun."
White Sox, Laumann keep open mind for Draft
CHICAGO -- Doug Laumann, the White Sox director of amateur scouting, was set to meet with his staff, White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Ken Williams on Saturday afternoon to get an even greater focus on their 13th overall selection in Monday's first round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
"We probably have got 20 names on that list for No. 13 right now," Laumann said. "There's probably eight to 10 of them that we know are going to be gone, and then we've got a list of about 10 we're putting in order."
Philosophical discussions follow, possibly picking between a college righty who could help the team pretty quickly or a high school left-hander who is three or four years away. The White Sox surprise success also plays a part in the selection.
"We weren't sure where we were going to be at this point," Laumann said. "Are we in a rebuilding mode or are we in a mode that we're going to do this and that?
"As we sit here today, we're in first place and we've got a six-game lead on the team that was going to run away and hide. Does that then change our philosophy a little bit? Those are the type of discussions that we have. Had we been 15-30 and not where we are right now, the mode might have been, 'Let's start building a little bit.'"
Hall of Famer Fisk discusses Ventura's role
CHICAGO -- When Carlton Fisk first heard about Robin Ventura being hired on as the new White Sox manager, a few questions came to mind concerning his former teammate's chosen line of work.
What is the purpose of the White Sox managerial selection? How did this come about?
"And then my first time in here, I sat down in Robin's office for a half hour, 45 minutes, with [White Sox bench coach] Mark [Parent] and just talked about the whole process," said Fisk of Ventura. "It's pretty interesting the way it came about.
"There was no question that he knows the game of baseball, no question there. And with his personality, I don't think he'd have a problem with 99.99 percent of the players. The only thing that might be in question is his in-game management.
"When guys play for you, that's easy," Fisk said. "You don't have to guess what a guy's going to do for you when he goes out there. If a guy gives you what his talent is, you can manage, you can coach. If guys play within their role and within their talents, Robin's going to have a fun time."
Fisk met with the media in the U.S. Cellular Field pressbox Saturday afternoon during the White Sox-Mariners contest, after firing a strike in one of the ceremonial first pitches. The first 20,000 fans in attendance Saturday also received a Fisk replica statue.
Ventura and Fisk played together in Chicago from 1989-1993, and Fisk said Saturday that "there's not a nicer guy on the face of the earth" than Ventura.
"At least not in this game anyway," said Fisk with a smile. "He was here for a while and then he went to New York, and you never know what New York can do to anybody.
"But he's weathered that well. He's got a fabulous family. You know, he never really abandoned the game. Even when he wasn't playing, he was still involved in the College World Series. He knows the game."
Through working relationships with the White Sox as a community relations representative, the Red Sox and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the part-time Florida resident and grandfather seems happy with his baseball connection. The Hall-of-Famer and 24-year veteran never really saw managing as a potential vocation, as it has become for Ventura.
"No, not really," Fisk said. "I played long enough to basically get my fill as a player."
First to third
• The White Sox have been in first place for 10 days this season. They topped the division for four days in 2011 (never after April 7), for 33 days in 2010 and for 13 days in 2009.
• Dayan Viciedo has a 73-game errorless streak dating back to Aug. 9, 2010, covering games in left, right, first and third.
• A.J. Pierzynski played in his 1,477th game as a catcher to move into 33rd place in Major League Baseball history