Who can blame Chris Sale if he's still glowing a bit about his experience at the All-Star Game?
After all, the kid came up big on the big stage in the Big Apple, tossing a pair of shutout innings to help propel the American League to a 3-0 victory.
And on top of that he got to witness a piece of history when New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera made his final all-star performance.
"Hearing the music start, seeing him run in and warm up on the field and watching him out there was the coolest thing, by far," Sale said.
As for his own ASG experience?
"It was fun," he said. "I think any time you have success on the mound, whether it be in the game or in the bullpen, you build confidence from that. I would like to use that going forward."
Those are the kind of words that are music to the ears of Sox manager Robin Ventura.
"From last year to this year I think he's just gotten better, more mature and understands what it takes to go through the season as a starter instead of being out in the bullpen," Ventura said.
"It was just good stuff that he was able to pitch 2 innings and on a stage like that it was good for him and good for us for people to see him."
And now Sale is aiming for an all-star caliber second half. It begins Monday night when he faces Max Scherzer in the series opener against Detroit.
"Coop and I talked about it yesterday in my sideline session. This year, let's spring across the finish line instead of stumbling across or falling across," Sale said. "Just trying to keep building strength and keep doing my job and going out there and pitch and trying to win games."
After three rehab games with Birmingham, including a 3-for-4 performance Saturday, Paul Konerko was back with the big club Sunday, and all indications are that he will be back in the lineup Monday night in the first of four against the Detroit Tigers.
"Anytime you get Paulie back, it's important for a lot of reasons," manager Robin Ventura said.
The Sox optioned Brent Morel to Charlotte after Sunday's game to make room for Konerko. The first baseman has been on the disabled list since July 3 with a lower-back strain, and Ventura will try to ease him back into things by using him as a DH a little more than before.
"We'll probably split it," he said. "He likes being on the field and you want to take care of him in a way, and (splitting time) you know you're taking care of his back.
"Him and Adam (Dunn) both like being on the field, so you try and mix it up a bit."
Hand it to Beckham:
Gordon Beckham wasn't in the lineup Sunday against Atlanta, and with the way his wrapped up left hand looked after the game, he may be a no-go for the Detroit series.
"It doesn't have anything to do with the surgery (that sidelined him for two months earlier this year) -- it's the same hand, but they definitely say it's some sort of strain," Beckham said.
"What they tell me is it sounds a lot worse than it really is, but they say it's basically a strain and will take at least a couple of days.
"The doctor said it could take awhile and it's going to hurt for a while, so there's not really anything you can do. You can't take a shot right now."
He's back (Part 2):
Injured pitcher Gavin Floyd made a rare appearance in the White Sox' clubhouse and said his range of motion is back and that he could begin soft toss in a month or so.
"Things have been going pretty good, I feel strong -- stronger I should say," Floyd said. "The range of motion is a big step, but I've got a long way to go and I've got to focus on getting back and working out and getting back in shape and getting my arm ready."
Floyd, who had elbow surgery in early May and could miss much if not all of the 2014 season, was just happy to be back in the clubhouse with his teammates.
"Yeah, being back here, it helps. I mean being with the guys and seeing baseball I might get the itch to play," he said.
"But it's been a blessing in disguise, kind of being able to spend time with my family and being able to hang out … but at the same time I really itch to get back."
Did you know?
Alex Rios' grand slam Saturday put him in some elite company.
According to the Elias, Rios and Raul Ibanez are the only players in baseball to hit a grand slam in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
He said it:
"I thoroughly enjoyed that. Him and my grandfather had a mutual friend in Lakeland (Fla.). He's a Hall of Fame manager, and giving me the time of day means the world. Being able to get things ironed out, and not only that, but building things on top of that was special to me."
-- Chris Sale on chatting up Jim Leyland at the All-Star GameCopyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.