CHICAGO -- When Francisco Liriano takes the mound Sunday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field, the southpaw will be working on his normal four days between starts.
Liriano's next start as part of the White Sox six-man rotation figures to come with extra rest, as Philip Humber and Gavin Floyd stand ahead of him. But to be honest, Liriano isn't sure what sort of different approach he will have to employ to prepare during that extended down time.
"I've never done it before so we'll see," Liriano said. "I don't know yet. I'm going to talk to [White Sox pitching coach Don] Cooper and just prepare myself for six days or five days."
Cooper and Liriano already have discussed a few small changes that the White Sox wanted to immediately put in place for the southpaw's mound approach that could make a difference. Liriano said the focus was "staying tall" and really just going out there and doing his job.
"Make a good pitch and try to go deeper in the game," Liriano said. "Don't try to do too much and just be who I am."
That going deep into games part is essential for the White Sox with their current rotation. Their bullpen consists of closer Addison Reed, Brett Myers, Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain for late innings, Leyson Septimo as the left-handed specialist and Nate Jones as the de facto long man.
With an extra starter and one less reliever, manager Robin Ventura will challenge his rotation to work through early trouble and avoid the quick hook if at all possible. It has been evident in good times, with Jake Peavy pushing through an eighth inning Wednesday at Target Field, and in the case of the minor struggles Humber battled through into the sixth on Friday against the Angels.
"Every starter that goes out there, you're limited in what you can do if they don't make it through four," Ventura said. "It puts you in a tight spot to really go through a six-man. Everybody, every starter becomes important.
"They gotta go five and then hopefully six. Then you are able to get somewhere in that bullpen that you can finish out a game."
Rios allowing numbers to speak for themselves
CHICAGO -- One of the reasons Alex Rios' amazing 2012 performance goes slightly unnoticed on a national scale is the right fielder leans toward the quieter side and doesn't seek out the spotlight.
"He's not at all, and that's unfortunate in some instances," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Rios, who is on pace to hit .318 with 40 doubles, 28 homers 103 RBIs and 103 runs scored. Those would all be career highs, except for doubles (47 in 2008).
"Again, we're just here to play baseball, and that's all he cares about," Ventura said. "He just wants to win games. I think the best part for him is he's a big part of us being in first place."
Since May 23, Rios is hitting .348 with 17 homers, 52 RBIs and 56 runs scored over 62 games. His average ranks second during that time to only Angels rookie phenom Mike Trout (.351). But to call this season one of his best is a bit premature for the right fielder.
"We haven't finished this year yet," Rios said. "So I just want to keep doing what I'm doing and focus on having good at-bats and winning games."
"Anybody would want a guy like him on your team, because he's been that good this year," Ventura said. "Since Spring Training, he has come in motivated and has been the same every day."
Ventura confident protest won't be upheld
CHICAGO -- White Sox manager Robin Ventura would be "surprised" if the Angels' protest of Friday's contest was upheld by Major League Baseball.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia played the game under protest after objecting to a first-inning fielder's choice at home plate, arguing that Paul Konerko ran inside the baseline during his last 45 feet to first and should have been ruled out for interference. Scioscia claimed the umpires confirmed Konerko was inside the baseline, but the return throw from catcher Chris Iannetta was offline to Albert Pujols anyway.
Crew chief Dana DeMuth told a pool reporter after Friday's game that Konerko "was no way interfering with the play at first."
"It's more of a judgment call anyway," Ventura said. "I get what [Scioscia] was trying to say, but I don't see it as affecting what happened.
"[Iannetta] just yanked it. Having playing third base, you get a lot of those anyway fielding bunts and throwing it up the line. We'll see what happens."
A smiling Ventura admitted that he wouldn't have been long for Friday's game if that first-inning call was overturned.
"You have a better chance of getting that call if you hit [the runner]," Ventura said. "It doesn't always happen, I've seen a ball hit somebody and they don't call it. It's tough to run down the line in that box and touch first without breaking your ankle, too. It's one of those, it's a different kind of play."
Dunn looking beyond No. 400
CHICAGO -- The White Sox have put up a "Get 'R Dunn" sign in right-center, just above the visiting bullpen at U.S. Cellular Field, with the countdown to Adam Dunn's 400th career home run represented by the number 396 as part of the sign. Dunn won't bother beating around the bush and stating that he doesn't think about reaching this monumental plateau achieved by 49 other players.
"You know, yeah, you think about it," Dunn said. "I'm not going to sit here and lie and say I don't. It doesn't mean anything right now because if I knew that I was retiring and this is my last year ... obviously it would mean a lot more. I'm hoping, I plan on hitting a whole lot more.
"I feel like I've got a whole lot of baseball left in me. It's just kind of a cool number right now. It's not something I'm going to hang my hat on yet. It's a cool number and when and if it gets here, it will be cool and then it's over. It's on to the next one."
Third to first
Hector Santiago made his first start for Triple-A Charlotte on Friday night during the Knights' 3-1 victory over Louisville. Santiago needed 52 pitches to throw three scoreless innings, striking out five and walking two.Brian Bruney threw two hitless innings in another injury rehab outing. The Knights also used Donnie Veal, Deunte Heath and Brian Omogrosso, meaning all five pitchers had previous big league time with the White Sox this season.
The White Sox have been in first place for 65 days this season, including all but eight days since May 29. Reliever Brett Myers has not allowed an earned run in seven appearances covering 5 2/3 innings since joining the White Sox.