ST. PETERSBURG -- The idea of "just taking it one day at a time" is a timeless cliche in sports, but it's also been a major part of White Sox manager Robin Ventura's leadership this season.
Ventura has emphasized the club's day-to-day work since Spring Training, and general manager Ken Williams credited some of the club's early success -- and the five-game winning streak it carried into Monday's series opener at Tropicana Field -- to Ventura's focused approach and the players' willingness to adopt the same mentality and focus on the fundamentals of the game.
"You're certainly pleased when you see what's transpired the last number of days," Williams said. "We're focused on the day to day. ... It's just all about the daily grind, and today we've got the Rays. We'll do the best we can."
Ventura said he entered his first year as a Major League manager with that mindset, and he's been impressed with his players' ability to simplify all their responsibilities into a singular focus on winning each day.
"Coaching-wise, you sometimes have to look ahead and plan for it," Ventura said. "But when you come to the park that day, everybody's here and the focus is just on what we're doing that day."
Quintana rewarded with second opportunity
ST. PETERSBURG -- White Sox manager Robin Ventura officially named left-hander Jose Quintana the club's starter for Wednesday's finale against the Rays. Quintana will fill in for lefty John Danks, on the 15-day disabled list due to left-shoulder soreness.
Quintana started Friday against Cleveland and allowed two runs on four hits and three walks over six innings for his first Major League win.
"He's still here, so that's a good sign," Ventura said of Quintana. "He threw great the last game."
General manager Ken Williams didn't think Danks, who has been playing catch, would need to go on a rehab assignment before returning. Williams explained that Danks' situation is different than that of reliever Jesse Crain, who had a rehab stint with Triple-A Charlotte during his return from a left-oblique strain, because Crain's high-leverage role doesn't allow him time to "find himself" on the mound.
"In John's case, he's got a lot of innings and a lot of starts behind him, working on some things on the side a couple times and everything. I think it's easier for him to fall back into rhythm," Williams said. "He can have that inning or two where he's trying to find his location and his rhythm and command and all that stuff.
"I don't know if it's that necessary, and I'm not afraid of a re-tweak because he's had so much time in between to get himself together and it wasn't that serious to begin with."
Williams reiterates effects of home attendance
ST. PETERSBURG -- General manager Ken Williams gave a simple answer Monday afternoon when asked whether he'd like to see more people at U.S. Cellular Field.
"The answer to that is, 'Yes.' Who wouldn't?" Williams said. "It's our crowd. When they show up en masse, they create a lot of energy. I don't know if they truly realize the effect that can have on a club on a day-to-day basis -- that energy, that electricity, that extra little push is a heck of an advantage when you have that kind of support.
"Absent of that, we'll just keep trying to go through our day-to-day grind and hopefully at some point in time, we'll get people's attention."
Following a 5-1 homestand, during which the club put up outstanding offensive numbers, the White Sox ranked 27th in the Majors in attendance, ahead of only the A's, Rays and Indians, with an average home crowd of 20,662.
While Williams first noted the effect a big crowd can have on the field, he admitted attendance figures could also impact how the front office approaches the July 31 Trade Deadline.
"Every day that you don't fill the seats, at least to a greater degree than we are, is a day that it hurts. But we've been able to find ways creatively over the years to try to improve the team. It's just par for the course, I guess," Williams said. "That's nothing that's going to stop the creative juices from flowing to try to get something done.
"People have to understand sometimes that if you can't monetarily make something work, sometimes you have to do it with a greater cost to your talent. We've had to do that sometimes over the years. It's not something that we terribly are comfortable with, but it is what it is."
Third to first
The White Sox entered Monday with 21 errors, the fourth-fewest in the Majors. While his club doesn't employ dramatic defensive shifts like some teams, most notably the Rays, manager Robin Ventura praised his players' effort in the field.
"They've worked at it. It's something they take pride in. They realize how important it is," he said. "I think that's the main thing for these guys to realize: defense wins games."
Paul Konerko entered Monday's game as the Major League leader in average (.399), second in on-base percentage (.476) and slugging percentage (.681), tied for second in multihit games (22) and third in total bases (111) and hits (65). He is 23-for-36 with five homers and 14 RBIs over his last 10 games.
Monday was the club's third of just five games outside Chicago from May 11 to June 10.