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White Sox send pitcher Zach Stewart to minors

Alexei Ramirez hits ground-rule double second inning Tuesday thdrove Alex Rios. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

Alexei Ramirez hits a ground-rule double in the second inning Tuesday that drove in Alex Rios. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

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Updated: July 21, 2012 6:30AM



The White Sox optioned right-hander Zach Stewart to Class AAA Charlotte and recalled right-hander Dylan Axelrod on Tuesday.

Stewart (1-2, 6.00 ERA) made his first start of the season Monday against the Cubs and was roughed up for four homers in the Sox’ 12-3 loss. He has allowed 10 long balls in 30 innings.

Axelrod, 26, was 5-4 with a 3.18 ERA in 68 innings for the Knights and was 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA in three appearances, including one start, with the Sox from April 27 to May 5.

Axelrod will assume Stewart’s role in long relief and possibly be an occasional starter, manager Robin Ventura said.

“He’ll be the long guy in the bullpen,’’ Ventura said. “Maybe down the road, if something else happens, he might be able to spot-start on occasion.’’

Getting it right

It started in spring training when Ventura and his staff wouldn’t finish drills until they were executed properly. That mind-set has carried into the season, which Paul Konerko appreciates.

Ventura’s staff stays on players about doing things the right way. Konerko said nothing goes unnoticed and is talked about promptly.

“The coaching staff is aware of that stuff,’’ Konerko said. “We try to nip it as quickly as we can. If there is a defensive lapse or something comes up, we’re quick to say, ‘Let’s not let that snowball.’ That’s hopefully where we’re at and where we begin to turn [around out of a recent slump of five losses in six games].’’

In Ken they trust

General manager Ken Williams said Monday that improved attendance will give him more leeway to add salary at the trade deadline if needed.

All Konerko knows is what he has seen during his career from Williams.

“With Kenny, you don’t have to worry about making the team better,’’ Konerko said. “No worries there.’’

Night off for A.J.

Even though A.J. Pierzynski homered on Monday night, he only had three hits in his last 18 at-bats. He pinch-hit in the seventh, lined out and stayed in the game. Ventura saw Tuesday as a good night to rest the left-handed hitter against Cubs lefty Travis Wood.

“Probably the last week and a half, he’s been frustrated,’’ Ventura said. “He’ll be in there [Wednesday].’’

Tyler Flowers caught Jake Peavy. He threw out Starlin Castro stealing in the first, his eighth gun-down in 12 attempts, the best percentage in the majors.

Love for Sale

Chris Sale is having an All-Star-caliber year in his first season as a starter.

“Obviously, the thought is there,’’ Sale said of pitching in the Midsummer Classic in Kansas City on July 10. “It would be an unbelievable opportunity, but you have a month left. Anything can happen in a month.’’

“I need to continue to help this team win. If it doesn’t happen, no skin off my back. I play for one team, and that’s this team.’’



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