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White Sox notebook, 9/5

September 5, 2011

Right-hander Axelrod joins White Sox bullpen

By Jordan Schelling / MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — Between games of Monday’s split doubleheader against the Twins, the White Sox selected the contract of right-hander Dylan Axelrod from Triple-A Charlotte.To make room for Axelrod on the 40-man roster, the White Sox also transferred right-hander Tony Pena to the 60-day disabled list.

Axelrod, 26, made 26 appearances (24 starts) between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte this season, going 9-3 with a 2.69 ERA. He allowed 45 earned runs over 150 2/3 innings.

Signed by the White Sox as a free agent on Aug. 2, 2009, Axelrod was named to the Southern League midseason All-Star team after going 3-2 with a 3.34 ERA with the Barons. Axelrod was even better for the Knights, posting a 6-1 record with a 2.27 ERA in 15 starts.

Pena has been on the 15-day DL since May 29 with right elbow tendinitis. In 17 relief appearances before going on the DL, Pena went 1-1 with a 6.20 ERA, allowing 14 earned runs in 20 1/3 innings of work.

Struggling Dunn gets rare start in opener

MINNEAPOLIS — For just the third time in nine games, designated hitter Adam Dunn was in the White Sox lineup for Game 1 of Monday’s doubleheader.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said it was a product of the doubleheader and the need for everyone to play, as well as to “see what we can get out of him.”

“Hopefully, he’ll come out and help the ballclub to win the game,” Guillen said.

Dunn has struggled throughout his disappointing season, batting just .163 with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs entering Monday. Over the last two years with the Nationals, Dunn hit 76 home runs while driving in 208 runs, and his batting average was 100 points higher.

White Sox center fielder Alex Rios also has struggled, batting .220 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs entering Monday. Rios’ numbers are down from 2010, when he batted .284 with 21 homers and 88 RBIs.

Guillen said he believed Dunn and Rios owed it to themselves to do whatever is needed in the offseason to improve in 2012.

“Everybody learns by mistakes,” Guillen said. “In the offseason, when you get older, you’ve got to work a little bit more, a little bit harder to try to get better.

“I don’t think they should feel guilty about how much money they made without contributing. They want to, they were ready. But I think when the years go by and you’re getting older, you have to take care of yourself a lot better.”

Guillen also was asked if he thought the respective performances of Dunn and Rios were “embarrassing enough” for them to put in the extra work needed to improve next season.

While he could not answer for how Dunn or Rios felt, Guillen made it clear how he felt.

“They should be embarrassed,” Guillen said. “I think they feel bad about the way they played this year.”

In the 2-1 Game 1 victory, Dunn went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Rios went 3-for-5 with two runs scored in the 4-0 victory in Game 2.

Guillen attributes struggles to poor start

MINNEAPOLIS — Manager Ozzie Guillen attributed his team’s struggles this season to its poor start, when the White Sox dropped to 11 games under .500 in early May.

After a loss on May 6, the White Sox were 11-22 and sat in last place in the American League Central, 11 games behind first-place Cleveland.

So what can the White Sox do next season to improve in the first month?

“I guess, talk to the Commissioner and say, ‘The White Sox are not going to show up in April,'” Guillen joked. “In the past, I feel like we might not play enough guys [in Spring Training]. Now we did it opposite, but we didn’t play good in Spring Training either.”

The White Sox went 11-20 this spring, finishing 14th out of 15 teams in Cactus League play. They also had the worst record of an AL team in Spring Training.

But Guillen said he does not plan to change much next year.

“I will do the same stuff,” he said. “I think everybody was fine, because I think everybody liked it. Everybody was ready to go.”

White Sox not concerned with short turnaround

MINNEAPOLIS — With their series finale Sunday in Detroit moved to a night game, the White Sox had a quick turnaround going into Monday’s doubleheader against the Twins.

They arrived in the Twin Cities in the early-morning hours, less than 12 hours before the scheduled start of Game 1 at Target Field. Even with the short night, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was not worried about his team going into the twin bill.

“Most of the players, they have a lot of short nights,” Guillen said. “I think everybody should be fine. And I expect them to go out there and play the game.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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