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updated: 4/16/2014 10:55 PM

Still early, but White Sox showing good signs

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It's still too early to make any long-term predictions, but the White Sox have shown they just might have the potential to contend for a playoff spot this season.

Even with right fielder Avisail Garcia out for the year with a shoulder injury, the offense has been equal parts explosive and resilient.

The pitching has been spotty at best in the early going, but in Tuesday night's 2-1 victory over the Red Sox, starter Erik Johnson looked a lot like the guy who was a combined 12-3 with a 1.96 ERA last season with Class AA Birmingham and AAA Charlotte before joining the White Sox in September.

The 24-year-old Johnson struggled in his first 2 starts but was brilliant against Boston while allowing 1 run on 3 hits with a career-high 9 strikeouts in 6⅔ innings.

"It's just building and learning each time you go out there," he said. "I think that's what it's all about. Each time I go out there I try to learn something new and build off the last start. I was really able to throw my pitches for strikes, throw all four for strikes, and I was spotting my fastball pretty well.

"It was a good one to have in your back pocket and to build off for the next one."

Johnson pounded the zone with his fastball, curve, slider and changeup, and that's a good sign moving forward.

"It just came out of his hand, last night it was crisper," manager Robin Ventura said. "It looked like he had some zip on it with a good curveball when he needed it, movement when he needed it, and he hit the corners. That stuff is important just for his own mindset."

Slow go:

Through the White Sox' first 15 games, nine have run three hours or longer. Tuesday's game against Boston dragged on for three hours and 36 minutes despite only 3 combined runs and 8 hits.

"Probably throw more strikes, catch balls," manager Robin Ventura said. "It's not on a time clock, so there are not a lot of ways (to speed up the game) unless you throw a lot of strikes, catch the ball and don't make too many errors.

"That's just baseball. The game has evolved with so much information, so much more than we used to have. It's a little bit harder to play at times for different reasons."

In play:

Paul Konerko is set to make his second start of the season Thursday, against Boston left-handed starter Jon Lester.

"It is an adjustment," Robin Ventura said. "He's kind of playing along with the game trying to figure out when it's going to be the spot when you're going to ask him to go in."

Jones update:

On the disabled list since April 4 with lower-back soreness, relief pitcher Nate Jones, it's safe to say, won't be activated after 15 days.

"He continues to get treatment and things like that, but there isn't a timetable on any of that until he's out throwing," Robin Ventura said.

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