The second half started the same way the first half ended for the White Sox -- with a loss.
The Sox (37-56) fell to the Atlanta Braves 6-4 Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field, and climbing out of last place in the AL Central remains the lone achievable team goal coming out of the all-star break.
That doesn't mean the next few weeks are going to be a drag.
The July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline is rapidly approaching, and White Sox general manager Rick Hahn might swing another deal or two. Hahn might also make wholesale changes.
On July 12, Hahn traded veteran relief pitcher Matt Thornton to Boston for minor-league outfielder Brandon Jacobs, who is playing with Class AA Birmingham.
"I don't know what direction they're going to go," said White Sox relief pitcher Jesse Crain, who is an obvious trade chip. "I'm not sure if they're going to sell some guys off in trades. I can't say that. Obviously, if we're all healthy that's good for a team but how many people will be here, I don't know. I don't know what their plans are."
Crain is still on the disabled list with a strained throwing (right) shoulder, and he figures to be out for at least another week.
Jake Peavy is another injured pitcher that is nonetheless a trade candidate, and the 32-year-old starter came off the disabled list Friday.
Out since early June with a left rib fracture, Peavy is scheduled to take the mound today against the Braves.
"I'm excited," said Peavy, who is 6-4 with a 4.30 ERA. "I expect to win tomorrow, that's the bottom line. I can't tell you how excited I am. I feel like a little kid getting turned back loose on the playground after having a couple of broken legs."
There is actually time for Peavy to make 3 starts before the July trade deadline, assuming Hahn wants to move him and interested teams decide the veteran right-hander is healthy and effective.
Peavy was twice dealt to the White Sox in 2009. In May, he vetoed the move with the full no-trade clause in his contract. When former GM Kenny Williams came calling again in July, Peavy accepted and joined the Sox.
Peavy signed a two-year, $29 million contract with the White Sox prior to the current season, but he no longer has no-trade protection.
There are plenty of trade rumors out there involving Peavy, not that he's aware of any.
"I haven't heard any trade talk, to be honest with you," Peavy said. "I did monitor trade talk in the past. I had some say in it. I have zero say in it now. So at the end of the day, I'm not going to worry about it because it won't do me any good to speculate on what I hear.
"That does nothing but take your mind and focus away from what it should be. I'm excited to be here right now. We'll let whatever happens over the next couple weeks happen."
Another injured White Sox player, Paul Konerko (sore lower back), played his second rehab game with Class AA Birmingham Friday night.
Konerko went 0-for-4 after going 1-for-2 with a walk Thursday. He could rejoin the Sox on Monday.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.