CHICAGO -- Never one to mince words, manager Robin Ventura revealed on Thursday the main factor that will determine whether the White Sox finish the season as American League Central champions.
"The key is to win," Ventura said with a grin.
That answer, coupled with Ventura's steady demeanor, shouldn't come as a shock. Nor should it surprise anyone that he has yet to call a team meeting and give a spirited "rah-rah" speech -- even heading into the finale of a key four-game series against the Tigers.
"We've done it at points, talking to them," he said. "But at this point they understand what they're doing and what they have to do. Maybe down the road [I'll talk], but they understand. There hasn't been a need to do that."
Instead, with 19 games remaining after Thursday's, the White Sox continue to follow Ventura's "day in, day out" approach. And as the season winds down and the outside pressure continues to mount, Ventura won't alter his style.
"There's nothing I can do that can take that away," he said of the pressure. "We realize these are important games and fun games. Again, just the freedom to go play the game and enjoy the game is more than anything."
Dunn remains out of lineup, no return date in sight
CHICAGO -- Day 7 of the Adam Dunn watch ended much like the previous six did: the designated hitter out of the lineup, with no return in sight.
"He feels it still, and it's just not worth it," manager Robin Ventura said of Dunn's strained right oblique. "It's at the point where he could probably re-injure it if he goes out there and plays."
A horde of media members waited by Dunn's locker prior to Thursday's series finale against the Tigers to get the latest, but Dunn never appeared, because there was nothing new to report, a team spokesman said.
Dunn and the White Sox, who entered Thursday one game ahead of Detroit in the American League Central, are taking their time with the injury. They learned their lesson a week ago, when he returned too quickly after sustaining the injury in Baltimore the last week of August. He played the first game of a series at Comerica Park and then three home games against Minnesota from Sept. 3-5 before being relegated to the bench.
The injury continues to be less bothersome for everyday tasks, but swinging in game situations is a different story.
"It's one thing just going into the cage and taking swings," Ventura said. "It's another thing to swing and miss and check swing and stuff like that. When [head athletic trainer Herman Schneider] gives him the clean bill, we'll play him."
Third to first
Addison Reed, 23, entered Thursday's game having saved five victories for fellow 23-year-old Chris Sale. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it is only the second time since 1992 that a pitcher younger than 24 has saved at least five victories for a teammate also younger than 24. The other was the Angels' Francisco Rodriguez, who saved 10 of Ervin Santana's victories in 2005.
The White Sox entered Thursday tied for second in the Majors with a .281 average with runners in scoring position, but they are batting just .196 in such situations in their last 12 games.