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White Sox timing Philip Humber’s return to maximize starters’ rest

Dayan Viciedo misses fly ball hit by Royals’ Alex Gordallowing run score second. | OrlWagner~AP

Dayan Viciedo misses a fly ball hit by the Royals’ Alex Gordon, allowing a run to score in the second. | Orlin Wagner~AP

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Sox at Royals

The facts: 6:10, Ch. 9, 670-AM.

The starters: Jake Peavy (7-5, 2.85 ERA) vs. Luke Hochevar (6-8, 5.14).

Updated: August 15, 2012 6:11AM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After pitching six sharp innings in a rehab start for Class AA Birmingham on Thursday, Philip Humber is set to return to the White Sox’ rotation, but it won’t be Tuesday, as anticipated.

Staying with their plan to keep the starting rotation fresh — even after a four-day All-Star break — the Sox will give Dylan Axelrod a start against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, with Humber pitching Wednesday. That will give rookie Jose Quintana, Jake Peavy and rookie Chris Sale five days’ rest for their second starts of the second half and should match Peavy against Justin Verlander in the series opener against the Tigers next Friday in Detroit.

‘‘We’ve been doing it during the year to give a guy an extra day here and there,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘It’s just another way to do it.’’

Sale’s third turn after the break would fall July 27 in Texas, a day after a day off that would bring him to five days’ rest again.

The Sox are looking for Humber (3-4, 6.01 ERA), who is on the disabled list with a strained right elbow flexor, to return to the form he showed during the first half.

‘‘I’m definitely pleased with how it turned out and most importantly how my arm felt,’’ Humber said. ‘‘With that, I’m excited to hopefully get back out there and help this team.’’

‘Prepared for worst’

It’s getting to the point where Ventura and pitching coach Don Cooper must be wondering if John Danks will pitch again this season.

‘‘I hope so,’’ Ventura said, “but we’ve had to think of anything. Right now, the way I look at it, I hope he’s coming back, but you have to prepare for the worst. And keep going. I’m hoping I’m wrong.’’

Danks is with the Sox on the road trip, continuing with the treatment he took through the All-Star break for his left shoulder. He said he’s ‘‘losing his mind’’ from the boredom of not pitching but doesn’t fault Cooper for saying he’s ‘‘not on the radar’’ right now.

On the positive side, Danks said his shoulder ‘‘is progressing.’’

‘‘Everything looks like it’s healing the way we want it to, just not as quick as we wanted it to or thought it would,’’ he said. ‘‘I would imagine it won’t be too long before we start throwing again.’’

Crain’s business

Reliever Jesse Crain (shoulder) threw on flat ground, including long toss, for the first time in a week and plans on a bullpen side session Sunday. The right-hander, who is a key piece to the bullpen, called it a step forward.

Crain hopes to go on a rehab assignment next week, aiming to come off the DL for the home series against the Minnesota Twins on July 23-25.

‘‘That would be my goal, for sure,’’ he said.

Rookie count at 11

Right-hander Jhan Marinez, one of the players obtained as compensation from the Miami Marlins for manager Ozzie Guillen last year, became the 11th Sox rookie on the 25-man roster.

Marinez, 23, was recalled from Class AAA Charlotte to fill the roster spot of right-hander Deunte Heath, who did not pitch before going back to Charlotte on Sunday.

Most in the fold

After Friday’s deadline to sign draft picks, the Sox have 28 of their first 29 picks under contract and 32 of their 41 picks overall. Left-hander Derek Thompson of John A. Logan College (13th round) did not sign.

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