Any game against an American League Central rival takes on a little extra meaning for the White Sox. But Robin Ventura's crew isn't looking at this four-game set at Comerica Park as some sort of early statement to be made.
"Especially the way we're going in there right now," said Ventura of facing the Tigers. "We know they're a good team, so just be prepared for it. It's not going to make or break the year in the next four days."
Chicago enters having snapped a four-game skid Sunday, while Detroit took two of three from the Angels this weekend, as the two teams collide with Monday's series opener.
"Obviously, they won it last year, so probably on paper they're picked to win it again," said White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn of the Tigers. "They're a good team, but I feel there are a lot of good teams in our division."
John Danks makes his first start against the Tigers, but he already has three quality starts in his first three trips to the mound this season. He will face right-hander Anibal Sanchez, who struck out eight over five innings in his last start, which he described as having the coldest temperatures in which he has ever pitched.
Meanwhile, Danks wants to cut down on walks and the opposition's first-inning output, where he has allowed three of his total seven runs.
"Really, right now, the two things that I'd like to get fixed more than anything are the walks and my first inning," Danks said. "I'm trying to do different things to combat the slow start. I think as the game gets on, I get into a good rhythm.
"But we are doing a little more in the bullpen before a game. Whatever. I've got to get that first inning down. Giving up three consecutive hits to start the game the other night (against Boston) wasn't fun."
Chicago will be getting its first glimpse of the new-look Tigers under manager Brad Ausmus. One thing that will be apparent is Detroit's willingness to take risks on the basepaths. The Tigers have 15 stolen bases through 15 games, which is more than they had until the 50th game of last season.
"That's fun," right fielder Torii Hunter said of the new approach. "Brad Ausmus, he's bringing a different style of baseball to Detroit. We're showing we can run."
White Sox: Leadoff hitter could be Semien in Eaton's absence
Plagued by a mild strain of the lower left hamstring, center fielder and leadoff man Adam Eaton will be out of the White Sox starting lineup for at least the first two games in Detroit, per Ventura. Marcus Semien got the leadoff call Sunday. He went 3-for-5 with a triple and three RBIs.
Semien led off in 62 games for Double-A Birmingham last year and in 31 games for Triple-A Charlotte. He scored 76 runs and drove in 48 combined from the leadoff spot to go with 15 homers.
"I had a lot of success there," Semien said. "You just want to get on base and do the same things that Eaton did. He got on base a lot. Help us get off to a good start.
The White Sox second baseman already has proven to be a patient hitter. So his approach won't change too much.
"Just making sure I saw some pitches the first at-bat of the game, see what he's got," Semien said. "See the type of stuff he has that day and try to get on base, and once you get on base, have the ability to run and just score runs."
With right-handed pitchers Sanchez and Justin Verlander going for Detroit the next two games, Ventura could choose to use a left-handed hitter such as Jordan Danks in the top spot.
Tigers: Gonzalez released, Worth's contract purchased
Alex Gonzalez's tenure as Tigers shortstop is over after three weeks. The Tigers released the 37-year-old on Sunday morning and called up infielder Danny Worth from Triple-A Toledo.
For now, Worth will platoon at shortstop with switch-hitter Andrew Romine, who had been splitting time with Gonzalez. The Tigers continue to monitor prospects Hernan Perez and Eugenio Suarez, who are playing shortstop at Triple-A Toledo and Double-A Erie, respectively, but wanted to give both of them more seasoning before considering them for a callup.
"Hopefully this combination will help us, and we can continue to analyze our situation," team president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "We've got two young guys that we're just not quite ready to bring up and ready to let them play, but they're playing very, very well for us."
• The Tigers won the season series last year over the White Sox, 12-7.
• The White Sox are 3-6 on the road this season, after going 26-55 away from home last season.
• Tommy Hanson's debut with Triple-A Charlotte produced mixed results Sunday against Gwinnett. He pitched three scoreless innings but eventually gave up four runs over four innings on four hits. He struck out one and walked three while throwing 38 of his 66 pitches for strikes. Hanson was signed to a Minor League contract by the White Sox on April 7.
Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.