CHICAGO -- Robin Ventura knew Bud Selig as both the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers and the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. But the White Sox manager limited his praise Thursday to Selig's time as Commissioner, after Selig announced his plans to retire from office in January 2015.
"The game has grown. I think we've seen it globally get bigger and I think he's a big reason for that," Ventura said. "He's been a pretty steady influence on that.
"I don't know if there's a calling card, but again, mixing in the Wild Card, or just the way the playoffs kind of run now, to really the global stuff that has taken off. I think that's probably the stuff for me that he's been important."
Ventura said he had the chance to talk with Selig because of the Commissioner's close bond with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and the proximity of the Brewers to the White Sox. Reinsdorf released a statement concerning Selig's vast impact on the game.
"When you step back and view the dramatic transformation Major League Baseball has undergone during Bud Selig's tenure as Commissioner, it is truly quite astounding," Reinsdorf said in the statement. "A social institution with a long and rich history like baseball is often very resistant and slow to change, yet Commissioner Selig has introduced dramatic, sweeping innovations to improve the game like expanded playoffs, comprehensive drug testing and competitive balance.
"These changes have left a lasting impact on baseball, most importantly for the fans of this great game. At his heart, Bud is a baseball fan, and that perspective has driven all he has done during his time as Commissioner. That is his legacy."
Danks focused on living up to own expectations
CHICAGO -- John Danks doesn't need to look at his pay stub twice per month to be reminded of the five-year, $65-million extension agreed to with the White Sox prior to the 2012 season.
He doesn't need to listen to talk radio or look at message boards to understand fans' questioning of his overall value after these past two seasons.
Nobody can be a harsher critic on Danks than himself.
"I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't embarrassed getting what I'm getting and doing what I'm doing," Danks told MLB.com in brutally honest terms. "There's a lot more expected of me. Nobody expects more than me."
Danks was plagued by shoulder soreness for most of the 2012 season, producing a 3-4 record with a 5.70 ERA over nine starts, before having his season come to an end with arthroscopic surgery on Aug. 6. He came back this year to make 22 starts, and while the results weren't ideal, he pitched pain-free and quickly made the injury an after-thought.
The hope is to return in 2014 stronger than he was even before the surgery.
"I have three years to prove it," said Danks, referring back to the five-year deal. "The goal is always to throw 200-plus innings, take the ball every day and give us a chance to win. I've got three years to make everyone believe it was worth it.
"That's part of my motivating factor. I want to be the productive player I'm expected to be."
Flowers not making excuses for rocky season
CHICAGO -- Tyler Flowers made an appearance in the White Sox clubhouse Thursday and reported that he's a little bit ahead of schedule after undergoing shoulder surgery on Sept. 5. Flowers can begin light toss in a couple of weeks to get everything moving.
"Range of motion is ahead of schedule," Flowers said. "We're not going to push it too much because we obviously have a fair bit of time, but everything looks good."
What Flowers won't do is blame this shoulder soreness that plagued him since the end of last year for a .195 average in his first year as an everyday catcher. He explained that the injury was easy to maintain and keep strong last year, under the watchful eye of White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider, and his thought was that rest and time off would make an injury that didn't seem too serious disappear before the start of the '13 campaign.
Unfortunately for Flowers, the injury wasn't gone when he started ramping things up in December and hung around throughout the year.
"I did a couple of things to try and help it feel better. It came and went throughout the whole season," Flowers said. "In spring, I was dealing with it a little bit, and we continued to do the exercises and treatment on it to try and stop anything from happening or anything worse happening.
"I'm not going to use that as an excuse. Everyone has pain when they play. I don't look at this season and say, 'I was in pain. That's why I didn't do well.' I'm sure that didn't help, but it's not like I'm magically a .350 hitter all of the sudden [with no pain].
"It wasn't there every day or anything like that," Flowers said. "There were definitely bad days. There were a number of good days too. It's no excuse. It was a lack of performance, not a lack of physical ability."
Purcey gets peace of mind with second diagnosis
CHICAGO -- After paying a visit to Dr. James Andrews, White Sox reliever David Purcey was relieved to know that the soreness in his left arm is a strained ulnar collateral ligament that will take four-to-six weeks to heal. He was instructed to relax during that time before undergoing physical therapy.
"To have something happen, it made me want to see all my options and make sure to kind of get what I could on it," said Purcey, who has never had previous arm problems. "Having both [White Sox team doctor and Andrews] come up with the same option and diagnosis is really comforting. It kind of eases my mind a lot. Now I can move forward, rest and start rehabbing."
Purcey, who is arbitration eligible in 2014, finished with a 2.13 ERA over 24 games this season. The left-hander fanned 23 over 25 1/3 innings, although he did walk 17, but earned praise from manager Robin Ventura for the progress he showed from Spring Training moving forward.
"I'm happy with my year," said Purcey, who felt the arm issue crop up during his 1 2/3 innings of relief against Detroit last Friday. "I don't like ending it this way, but it's just sometimes the way it happens. I can't control circumstances out of my hands."
Struggles vs. Tribe make unwanted history for Sox
CHICAGO -- The 7-2 loss to the Indians Wednesday night in Cleveland put the White Sox in rare and unwanted Major League Baseball company.
Cleveland became one of just five teams to claim 17 wins in a season against an opponent since the division era began in 1969. The White Sox dropped their last 14 this season to the Indians and finished at 2-17.
Other matchups with one team claiming 17 wins include Texas over Houston this season (17-2), Atlanta over San Diego in 1974 (17-1), the Mets over the Pirates in 1986 (17-1) and the A's over the Mariners in 2006 (17-2). The White Sox were also 2-16 against the A's in 1970.
Third to first
• White Sox play-by-play television announcer Ken 'Hawk' Harrelson will serve as a guest studio analyst on MLB Network's MLB Tonight show during coverage of the ALDS and NLDS on Oct. 4-5. Harrelson will work with various MLB Network hosts and analysts from its studios in Secaucus, New Jersey.
• The top four innings pitched leaders for the 2013 White Sox all will be left-handed pitchers, made up of Chris Sale (209), Jose Quintana (193), Hector Santiago (149) and John Danks (138 1/3). According to STATS LLC, the 1979 season was the last time the White Sox had four lefties leading in innings in Ken Kravec, Rich Wortham, Ross Baumgarten and Steve Trout.
• Numerous White Sox players have praised Ventura for his steady, even-keel demeanor even through this season's struggles. On Thursday, Ventura pointed out that the calmness can change over the course of a year.
"I'm calm out here. You don't know how I am in there," Ventura said. "There's times that I'm louder and more direct [in the clubhouse], and angrier. But if I'm out here, I can be calm out here.
"This isn't always the way it is, just like everybody in there isn't always the way they are when you see them out here. My personality is different in there than it is out here."
Ventura added that there are different times when he's angrier and louder than others, but it hasn't done much to change the '13 record.
"So, again, you try everything to make it better," Ventura said. "This year it just didn't happen."