MINNEAPOLIS -- Left-handed reliever Hector Santiago was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte prior to Monday's contest with the Twins to make room for Francisco Liriano on the roster.Santiago, 24, started the year as the White Sox closer and picked up four saves. He currently has a 2-1 record with a 3.66 ERA and 43 strikeouts over 39 1/3 innings.
According to manager Robin Ventura, Leyson Septimo will work as a left-handed specialist and Nate Jones would serve as the team's long man. Santiago, meanwhile, will stretch out at Charlotte and get to start.
Joining the starting rotation is the goal for Santiago.
"Yeah, maybe in the future he could be," said Ventura of Santiago. "Right now, it's better for him to do that when he goes down there, get innings, get stronger, use more pitches.
"You start going through what you need and the stretch run, just a numbers thing. It's unfortunate. He's done well. He ended up being the guy.
"More of it is he'll start games when he's down there instead of relief," Ventura said. "He's been in relief most of the year. You don't know how he'll be used when he comes back but the possibilities open up for him."
The White Sox have four righties and two southpaws in the bullpen, with three rookies and three veterans.
Pierzynski shares experience with Liriano
MINNEAPOLIS -- A.J. Pierzynski remembers walking into SoxFest for the first time in January 2005, shortly after signing on as a free agent, turning to his wife, Lisa, and talking about how weird he felt seeing all the White Sox stuff around.
After all, Pierzynski had spent three seasons as the Twins' everyday catcher, doing everything he could to take down the White Sox and help Minnesota win the American League Central. Suddenly, his enemy had become his employer.
That same feeling will be dealt with by Francisco Liriano on Tuesday night, when he makes his first start for the White Sox at Target Field, against a Twins team which gave him the baseball for 156 appearances and 130 starts. With one phone call late Saturday night, Liriano moved from the bottom of the division to the top and to the team that was the victim of his only no-hitter.
"I haven't been thinking about [Tuesday's start] because I don't want to get too excited, too nervous," said Liriano, who met with the media prior to Monday's series opener with the Twins. "I'm going to go out there and do my job and help the team win some games.
"It feels weird. I faced the White Sox so many times. But there's nothing I can do about it. Just do my job and try to fit in."
Pierzynski planned to talk with Liriano after Monday's game and before Tuesday's contest about what he likes to do and how he likes to pitch. The two players who once were traded for each other prior to the 2004 season now will be forming a battery for the White Sox against the franchise with which they first found fame.
"He's had some success. I know that. He's been an All-Star," said Pierzynski. "He's thrown a no-hitter against us. He's been really good so we'll try to focus on the positives and hopefully bring that out of him. Hopefully, we get the dominant left-handed pitcher like we've seen him be before."
Danks frustrated by lack of progress
MINNEAPOLIS -- After throwing 30 pitches off the mound Friday in Texas, John Danks returned to playing catch prior to Monday's game with the Twins, instead of throwing off the mound as was previously discussed.
"I just do what I'm told. I don't know. I played catch and ran around and I'm ready for BP," Danks said. "Yeah, it wasn't any better or any worse. It's getting frustrating but I've got to deal with it.
"I'm kind of glad we didn't throw off the mound today. It wasn't too bad, but I definitely like the break. It's not fun going out there and trying to push through something. But you've got to do what you got to do and [if] they had me do it, I'll do it."
Danks, who has been out with a left shoulder strain since May 20, spoke to MLB.com on Saturday about the possibility of season-ending surgery if the injury continues to not heal. General manager Ken Williams bristled at the mention of the idea Sunday, saying surgery was a last resort for Danks.
Sale's next start remains undetermined
MINNEAPOLIS -- The next start for Chris Sale will come sometime within five or six days, manager Robin Ventura said before Monday's game.Sale last pitched Friday in a 9-5 victory over the Rangers, and will get his third extended rest of the season in an effort to monitor his innings total and keep him fresh for September.
"It depends how he's feeling," said Ventura of Sale's next start. "Talking to him yesterday and flying up here, it wouldn't be a bad thing for him to have that time off to get refreshed and ready to go again."
Pitching coach Don Cooper said Sale would play catch on Tuesday and then throw a bullpen session two days before his next start. Cooper added that this weekend's starters against the Angels were lined up but wouldn't be announced until Tuesday.
Third to first
TBS has picked up the Athletics vs. White Sox game on Aug. 12 for a full national broadcast. First pitch remains at 1:10 p.m. CT.
White Sox pitchers have limited opponents to a .133 average with runners in scoring position over the last seven games. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski reported no ill effects from the mild right oblique strain that sidelined him for the past five games. Pierzynski was encouraged more by how he felt when swinging and missing during Monday's 7-6 loss then when making contact, as swinging the bat previously caused him the biggest discomfort. He hit a three-run homer on the first pitch he saw in the first inning and finished 1-for-5. White Sox general manager Ken Williams is not with the team in Minneapolis, as he continues working toward Tuesday's 3 p.m. CT non-waiver Trade Deadline. The White Sox have drawn just one walk in their last two games (75 plate appearances).