Losing two of three to Houston, after dropping Sunday's game 11-9, was not the way the Chicago White Sox wanted to start flexing their muscles in trying to hold the Central Division lead, but help is on the way. At least for one aspect of the team.
Lefty John Danks reported that the sore left shoulder that forced him on the disabled list on May 25 passed the test in Saturday's latest bullpen session, so the 27-year-old is off to Class AAA Charlotte to do a rehab assignment, starting Tuesday.
The Sox could use him, as Philip Humber again struggled on Sunday, and is now 1-4 in his last nine games since throwing a perfect game on April 21, while Gavin Floyd is also hurting the rotation with poor showings in late May and into June.
Danks hopes to be back next week if all goes well, and help solidify the rotation to where it was earlier in May when the Sox first went on their hot streak.
"The disabled list (stinks)," Danks told reporters. "I don't ever want to be on the DL again. I said that last year. It feels like you are letting a lot of people down when you go on the DL. There's nothing I could have done different, I don't think. But the team shows some confidence in you, and I haven't pitched to my standards that I would like to pitch.
"I felt like I was finally turning that corner. I don't know, maybe it's a blessing in disguise. Maybe I needed the break, and I'll be strong for the rest of the year."
While the Sox got good news on the pitching front Sunday, the news with third baseman Brent Morel and his back problems are not good. Now, the second-year player is meeting with specialists to see whether surgery is an option.
"If there has to be surgery, just do it," manager Robin Ventura said. "I think, at this point, they've done a lot of things you can do without that. So send him to somebody who can specifically find out what it is."
Morel, 25, has been on the disabled list retroactive to May 18 with a back strain, but that issue has plagued him since spring training, and again acted up after eight games on his rehab assignment.