TB@CWS: Balfour, Konerko exchange words after walk

CHICAGO -- There was a rare moment in Friday's win over the Rays other than Jose Abreu's walk-off grand slam -- White Sox captain Paul Konerko got into a shouting match.

Konerko's pinch-hit walk against Rays closer Grant Balfour helped set up Abreu's game-ending blast. As Konerko jogged towards first, Balfour started yelling. Konerko said he wasn't sure if the yelling was directed toward him, so he felt he had to respond and started jawing back at Balfour, who claimed after the game he was yelling at himself.

"I'm angry at myself, so if he wants to yell at me, whatever," Balfour said Friday night, after blowing the save. "I wasn't yelling at him. I was frustrated because I missed by six feet there. He's been playing a long time and so have I. I respect everything he's done. But to think that I was yelling at him? Why? If he's trying to get under my skin, usually it doesn't work out. Tonight it did for him."

Said Konerko, "I've got a lot of years under my belt in professional baseball. I've never been on the field one time trying to get under someone's skin. We're all out here, professionals. I don't play that game. I think it's everybody does your best and you don't try to get somebody off their game with that kind of stuff. So that's not the way I operate. I think that's pretty apparent that I've never operated [that way]."

Konerko wouldn't elaborate on what he said back to Balfour, but in the end, it seemed like a simple misunderstanding. Balfour has a reputation for being animated on the mound, which Konerko said he doesn't mind.

"Whatever, that's his thing. No opinion on that," Konerko said. "But after the at-bat concluded it was just another man in my general area yelling towards me, or I don't know if it was directly towards me but it was, it sounded like it, was so I just wanted to find out if it was. I don't think it was.

"When I looked at him and said what I said I don't think it was that, but he's got to understand that if he's going to yell that close to people, you're going to get a guy every now and again that's going to ask why or take exception to it."

Carroll to debut Sunday; Johnson optioned

CWS@TEX: Johnson goes five strong frames in win

CHICAGO -- The White Sox optioned starter Erik Johnson to Triple-A Charlotte following Saturday's 4-0 loss to the Rays. Right-hander Scott Carroll will be promoted from Charlotte to take Johnson's spot and start Sunday's game, which will be his Major League debut.

Johnson at times showed why he made the rotation out of Spring Training, pumping a fastball in the mid-90s with a plus-slider. He has struggled with his command, however, walking 15 in 23 2/3 innings. On Friday against Tampa Bay, Johnson's ERA rose to 6.46 after he lasted just 1 2/3 innings while allowing four earned runs with four walks and one strikeout.

"I think it's just something where I have to go down and refine my stuff and get it back to where it was, and hopefully come back up and help the team as best as I can," Johnson said.

The 29-year-old Carroll is a career Minor Leaguer with a 3.95 ERA and 2.07 strikeout-to-walk ratio in eight seasons. He is 3-1 with a 1.57 ERA while walking nine and striking out 13 in four starts for Charlotte this year.

"He's doing pretty good down in Triple-A," Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "For us, it's 'give the guy a shot.'"

Johnson impressed during his September callup last season, going 3-2 with a 3.25 ERA in five starts covering 27 2/3 innings. He'll look to rediscover that form with Charlotte.

"They just said, 'You're going down to Charlotte,'" Johnson said. "Y'ou need to just get your stuff back and be who you are and just get back to what you know how to do.'

"No one expects to go down. I think it's definitely a privilege to be in the big leagues and it's a privilege to play here and you've got to bring it every day. Right now what I'm doing is not what gets results out there."

Left hand contusion forces Gillaspie to DL

CWS@TEX: Gillaspie plates two with a double to right

CHICAGO -- White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left hand contusion, the team announced Saturday. Right-hander Hector Noesi, who was claimed off waivers on Friday, took Gillaspie's spot on the active roster.

Gillaspie had missed the previous four games with soreness in his left hand. White Sox manager Robin Ventura said before Friday's game that Gillaspie was being held out in the hope his hand would improve enough by Saturday's contest against the Rays, but it did not.

"Well, I can't swing a bat," Gillaspie said. "It's unfortunate. It's definitely frustrating, but I don't have very many other options. I can't keep putting guys on our team in the situation where it's you never know if I can play or not. That's just the way it is."

Gillaspie had been battling the contusion, on the inside of his left hand, for the past 2-3 weeks. When it lingered longer than expected, he realized it was unwise to keep trying to play through it.

"It's in one of those spots where the bat presses against your hand," Gillaspie said. "Any time I hit a ball it's a no-go right now. I can do other things, but if you can't hit up here, you're kind of [stuck]."

Gillaspie said he won't swing a bat again until the contusion is completely gone, which he hopes is within a week.

"I'm not good enough to go through a whole season fighting my hand," said Gillaspie, who has a slash line of .302/.347/.413 in 16 games this season. "I'm just not that good. I think it's the best decision and I think down the road you look back and say hopefully we've got enough hitters now and we have guys playing well, so hopefully it's not a burden on anybody and we can move on come [May 7]."

One of those guys playing well is rookie Marcus Semien, who started at third in Gillaspie's absence and has played in 23 games overall.

Semien is hitting just .225, but has played good defense and shown the ability to work the count and hit for power -- especially when it counts. All three of his home runs have come in the seventh inning or later and have given the Sox the lead, making him the only Major Leaguer to hit three go-ahead homers in the seventh inning or later this season, per Stats LLC.

"The situation that we're in really allowed that to happen, instead of forcing the issue and just making him kind of fight through it and be miserable the whole time and having it there the whole year," Sox manager Robin Ventura said of placing Gillaspie on the DL. "So the way Marcus is playing, it becomes and easier decision to have him go on the DL and get him healthy."

Noesi, 27, was claimed off waivers from Texas after posting a 14.21 ERA (10 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings pitched) and six strikeouts in five relief appearances this season between Seattle and the Rangers. He will wear uniform No. 48.

Noesi to get chance in White Sox bullpen

CHICAGO -- Hector Noesi has had a whirlwind of a season so far. The White Sox are his third team in the month of April alone. He was added to Chicago's 25-man roster before Saturday's game against the Rays after being claimed off waivers from the Rangers.

Noesi made the most of his first opportunity with the White Sox, throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings in Saturday's 4-0 loss to the Rays.

"He did great," manager Robin Ventura said. "For getting here today and getting right in there ... not ideal conditions to be in there and make your debut with a team, but he did what was asked of him."

Noesi said his transition between the three teams is helped by knowing so many other Latin players in the big leagues. That still doesn't make such frequent change easy, though Noesi said he feels good as a member of the White Sox.

"Well, it's an experience for me, and I learn from that too," Noesi said. "It's really hard. I jump places too, and just to a different team. I just need a role and to keep my role up."

For all intents and purposes, Noesi is a work in progress. The 27-year-old right-hander has a 14.21 ERA this season (10 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings pitched) with the Rangers and Mariners, and a career ERA of 5.81 in 196 2/3 innings. In that sense, he's just Sox pitching coach Don Cooper's latest reclamation project.

"I've been hearing a lot about it him, he is good," Noesi said of Cooper. "So I'm going to trust him with my stuff."

Noesi said Cooper talked to him about correcting his mechanics, in particular his release point. He might not have much time to get any extra work in -- Cooper told Noesi to be ready for Saturday night, because the bullpen tossed 7 1/3 innings in Friday's win.

One thing above all else that will help Noesi stick with the White Sox is the ability to throw strikes. White Sox relievers walked seven in Friday's win and have issued 55 free passes in 81 1/3 innings, an average of more than six walks per nine innings. The bullpen also has the second-worst ERA (5.20) in the American League.

It's not as if Noesi can correct those issues on his own, so what expectations do the Sox have for him?

"I don't know. We're going to find out when he's in there," Ventura said. "With the way it's been going for us, he's going to get a shot to do something. You hope the guy takes advantage of it and makes the most of it."

Worth noting

• The White Sox have yet to name a starter for Sunday's contest, but all signs point to righty Scott Carroll, who is 3-1 with a 1.57 ERA in four starts at Triple-A Charlotte. Ventura said the team would make a decision after Saturday's game.

• Abreu is hitting .400 with five home runs, 13 RBIs and 10 runs scored in his last seven games.

Dayan Viciedo (.370) and Alexei Ramirez (.358) rank first and third in the American League in hitting entering Saturday's game. Tyler Flowers (.388) would lead the AL in hitting if he had the required number of at-bats to qualify.

• With Friday's win, the White Sox snapped a five-game losing streak to Tampa Bay and won their first nine-inning game when issuing 11-plus walks since May 31, 2000, at Seattle (also 11 walks).