CHICAGO -- Adam Dunn is making gradual progress in regard to handling everyday activities with his strained right oblique.
"Sneezing is the one that really gets you," said Dunn, shaking his head.
But the one major roadblock for a possible Dunn return to the lineup stands as the power-packed designated hitter being unable to swing the bat.
"It's just swinging," said Dunn, who leads the White Sox with 38 homers and 88 RBIs. "And that's part that I kind of need to do."
Dunn missed the Sept. 1 and 2 games at Comerica Park due to this strain, but returned to knock out three hits in eight at-bats during the Twins series. He had a "jacked-up swing" in that series finale against Minnesota, causing him to aggravate the injury, and leading to his absence from the Royals series.
Whether Dunn will play any of the four games against the Tigers remains a day-to-day decision. But Dunn won't push himself too fast as he did in his Minnesota return.
"Looking back now, I probably would have missed a couple days in Minnesota and probably would have been fine now," Dunn said. "But me being stupid probably cost me a couple extra days, to be honest with you. I was trying to do things I'm not capable of doing, that's getting singles [against Minnesota]. That's not helping anybody.
"[Swinging] is terrible. It's like a hot knife. I can deal with an ankle. I can deal with anything. It gets to the point where it makes you mad because you sneeze and you're doubled over. It feels like you just ripped it in half and it just makes you mad, is what it does."
Floyd's return to rotation in discussion stage
CHICAGO -- A 50-pitch bullpen thrown by Gavin Floyd on Sunday with relatively no discomfort means it's now on the White Sox to figure out when the right-hander returns to the rotation. Floyd has been on the disabled list retroactive to Aug. 27 with a right elbow flexor strain.
"Everything felt a lot better," said Floyd, who threw 25 pitches, then sat down and then threw 25 more as if he was working in an innings setup. "A couple of times we stopped and it felt a little ... abnormal. But everything felt good."
"Floyd looked fine," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "He had three sidelines: one we'll call light, second one medium, this was normal. In the second sideline, we mixed in sliders and today we mixed in curveball, sliders and changeups. We mixed them all. It's not pain right now. He threw well and now we're going to discuss where and when we feel it's best to insert him."
Cooper confirmed that Jose Quintana and Jake Peavy will be the White Sox first two starters in the important four-game set against the Tigers beginning Monday. Nothing is certain past those games, and Cooper also didn't list rookie Hector Santiago as the automatic starter to be replaced by Floyd.
Both Quintana and Wednesday starter Francisco Liriano have struggled in their last two starts. The White Sox also could insert Floyd on Thursday and give Chris Sale an extra day.
"There's nobody replacing anybody. Again we're not there," Cooper said. "If Hector goes out there and throws well today, he's throwing good, we'll have to really wrap our minds around that before we take somebody out who's throwing well. We're going to play it by ear. We have a lot of options right now and we'll weigh them all."
White Sox offense thriving at home
CHICAGO -- With a .301 average, 28 home runs and 84 runs scored in the last 15 home games, the White Sox offensive attack is thriving at U.S. Cellular Field. The South Siders have hit 47 homers in their last 24 games played here, explaining a large part of their home success.
"We score with the home run, and that's one of the things: it's a park that you can hit home runs," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You play in Detroit or Kansas City, those are bigger parks and some of the balls you hit don't go out, so you don't get back into a game or get out to a lead.
"Guys are just more comfortable. They're here more. The environment is comfortable for them."
Hitting coach Jeff Manto agrees with Ventura's more comfortable routine theory at U.S. Cellular Field. He also likes the offense's overall position for the final 23 games of the season.
"I really do. We have a couple of guys that aren't hitting balls as well as they can," Manto said. "We might be leaving guys on base more than usually have in the past, but yet it's that time of the year.
"It's easy to say why not just drive in the run. Well, this is pressure. We are playing for something and those at-bats are different than a team not in the race."
Quintana tries to stretch for success
CHICAGO -- Jose Quintana was looking to make a few adjustments during his recent side session in between starts after allowing 15 earned runs over his last 10 2/3 innings. One major change came in his work out of the stretch, where he felt as if he was hurrying his pitches as well as opening up his shoulder more.
"It's something I picked up on and [pitching] coach [Don Cooper] picked up on," said Quintana through translator and White Sox manager of cultural development Jackson Miranda. "It felt good and hopefully that will come across [Monday]."
Quintana has lost his last two starts, with the Twins and Orioles scoring 12 runs combined against him in five innings. But Cooper doesn't expect anything out of the ordinary from the rookie against the Tigers on Monday.
"No matter if you're a rookie or a veteran, we expect you to go out there and give us a chance to win," Cooper said. "This is a pennant race and we're in it and we're trying to win it. We need those guys.
"They're the first line of defense. That's why they get the big bucks because they're paid to go out there and take the bulk of the responsibility, which is six, seven and then more, hopefully, innings each game to give us a chance to win."
Third to first
White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez was scratched from Sunday's starting lineup because he arrived late to U.S. Cellular Field. He was replaced by Ray Olmedo. Ramirez will return to the starting lineup Monday against Detroit.
Kevin Youkilis is expected back Monday, after joining his wife for the birth of their son.
Chris Sale (age 23) earned his 16th win Saturday and Addison Reed (age 23) converted his 26th save, the fifth time Reed has saved a win for Sale this season. According to Elias, it's only the second time since 1992 that a pitcher under the age of 24 has saved at least five victories for a teammate who also was younger than 24. Francisco Rodriguez saved 10 wins for Ervin Santana in 2005.
The White Sox fell to 4-9 in their last 13 games, 5-8 in extra innings overall and 28-28 against the American League Central.
Left-handed hitters are 0-for-18 with 11 strikeouts against Donnie Veal.