NEW YORK -- Gordon Beckham took ground balls prior to Tuesday's series opener with the Mets at Citi Field, marking the first time the second baseman has done so since surgery to remove a fractured hamate bone in his left hand. Beckham has been taking dry swings and hitting off a tee and plans to move to flips in a couple of days, and then go to live batting practice.
If all goes well, Beckham could begin a Minor League rehab stint at the end of next week when the White Sox are in Anaheim, Calif.
"It will be a little more than a week before I start on a rehab assignment, unless it just feels really good off the bat," Beckham said. "Then we can bump it up a little bit.
"After a certain amount of swings, it gets tired and you can tell it's weak," said Beckham. "But everything is real positive from what the doctor has seen from my hand and what we are doing in there and what [White Sox head athletic trainer] Herm [Schneider] and [White Sox assistant athletic trainer Brian Ball] have been doing with me. It's looking like, unless it doesn't feel right or something, we'll be back before six weeks."
Beckham went on the disabled list retroactive to April 10 and had surgery April 16. His goal has been to return before the projected six-to-eight weeks of inactivity, and Beckham takes confidence in knowing it's tough to re-injure himself since the bone has been taken out.
"So, it's kind of pain tolerance. How much is good pain and how much pain should you back off?" Beckham said. "It's hard to differentiate between the two.
"Right now, I'm just swinging and it hurts, but I'm not going to hurt anything, so I'm not worried. I can't hurt it any worse."
Sale perseveres into late innings to save bullpen
NEW YORK -- There was no victory attached to Chris Sale's name Monday, despite a 2-1 win over the Royals in 11 innings. But Sale's ability to hold Kansas City to one run into the eighth inning, even after throwing 57 pitches over the first two innings, gave the visitors a chance to pull off a late rally.
"Keep your team in the game and keep less runs on the board than the other team. That's the goal," said Sale with a smile. "But sometimes in that scenario, it's keep it right where it's at and you want to save as many bullpen arms as you can, especially when you go through a long haul. Any time you can limit the damage and just keep the game right where it's at, you know it's a plus."
Sale said pitch count was the last thing on his mind after those two extended innings. His goal simply was to get quick outs.
"You pitch only every fifth day, so I want to be out there as long as I possibly can, whether that's 103 pitches, 120 pitches, 140 pitches," said Sale, who matched a career high with 119 pitches. "You want to be out there as long as you can.
"It's important to save bullpen arms because those guys are running out there 50, 60 and maybe even 70 times a year. Each appearance, even if it's one guy or two guys, one inning, those build up and the fresher you can have these guys at the end of the year, the better off we'll be."
As for the Royals extending Sale's workload, the White Sox ace gave more credit to Kansas City than questioning his stuff. Sale felt as if he was "throwing a metal ball to magnet bats" in those opening two innings.
"They were fighting it off, a scrappy team. They are an athletic team," Sale said. "All those guys have very good hand-eye coordination.
"Every time I pitch vs. them, I seem to give up a bunch of hits and don't strike out a lot of guys. Maybe not walk as many guys, because it's a free swinging team, but they put the bat on the ball. They put the ball in play and it either goes their way or it doesn't."
Roster changes looming as injured return
NEW YORK -- Slowly but surely, the White Sox are getting closer to full strength.
John Danks (left shoulder) made his second Minor League rehab start Tuesday night in Columbus, Ohio, covering five innings and 92 pitches, striking out four, walking five and allowing two runs. Dayan Viciedo (left oblique strain) began his injury rehab assignment with Danks for Triple-A Charlotte, going 0-for-6 in the doubleheader, and Gordon Beckham (removal of fractured hamate bone in left hand) hopes to start his rehab next weekend.
Those improving regulars have caused manager Robin Ventura to begin thinking about possible roster changes in the near future.
"You have to. It's one of those [where] you start looking at guys and figure out how the pieces are going to come back together," Ventura said. "It gets blown up quick when you start mixing and matching different guys that are hurt when they start coming back and with John throwing and being available soon.
"Those are just decisions you have to make. In talking to [White Sox general manager] Rick [Hahn], just one of those you start eye-balling. Somebody has to go for somebody to come in."
Third to first
• Approximately 20 media members greeted Ventura for his pregame session Tuesday evening at Citi Field. Ventura, who played for the Mets from 1999-2001, likes the Mets' new ballpark but said it's hard to match the crowd noise from the old venues like Shea Stadium.
Third-base coach Joe McEwing, who played for the Mets from 2000-04, also received a warm welcome from the media and Mets personnel.
"I miss Shea. I miss the loudness of it. But we're excited to come back," said McEwing, who went 0-for-5 in the only previous series between the White Sox and Mets from June 10-12, 2002, in Chicago. "This whole game is about friendships and memories you create while you're going through it.
"A lot of times you're not going to remember what you did on June 28 or when you went 2-for-4. When you walk into a stadium you see the grounds crew guys and the secretaries, that's what's so special about this game."
• The White Sox claimed first baseman Mike McDade off waivers from Cleveland and optioned him to Triple-A Charlotte. The White Sox also moved Gavin Floyd to the 60-day disabled list.
McDade, a switch-hitter who turns 24 on Wednesday, hit .230 with seven RBIs in 21 games this season for Triple-A Columbus.
• Paul Konerko, who did not start Tuesday night, ranks second all time with 58 homers and 167 RBIs during Interleague Play. Konerko trails Jim Thome (64 homers) and Alex Rodriguez (198 RBIs) in each category.