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Axelrod replacing Sale as starter

The Sports Xchange
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--RHP Dylan Axelrod now gets the start on Sunday, taking Chris Sale's place, but the Sox will still need to make a move for Monday, when they play a day-night doubleheader against Cleveland. RHP Nestor Molina is a possibility, after GM Ken Williams hyped the pitcher up after he acquired him from Toronto in the Sergio Santos deal. They could also go with a bullpen day, using Nate Jones, Addison Reed and Zach Stewart.

--LHP Hector Santiago, who had four saves in six opportunities with a 7.36 ERA, moves to the middle of the bullpen in the wake of the Sox taking LHP Chris Sale out of the starting rotation and making him the new closer. However, the Sox bullpen is now stacked with lefties, including Sale, Santiago, Matt Thornton and Will Ohman. "When you think about it, we have four pretty good lefties out there," pitching coach Don Cooper said. "So listen, this gives Hector a chance to pitch. And pitch and develop. Go out there and play, get more comfortable, get your major league legs underneath you. Think about it ... he went from Double-A to the majors as a closer. That's a big jump."

--RHP Jesse Crain continued to report that he was feeling good, as he comes closer to recovering from the strained left oblique that put him on the 15-day disabled list, but according to manager Robin Ventura on Friday, there is no way the reliever will be ready to come off the DL by Sunday, his scheduled day. Not only because they want Crain to throw a few innings on rehab assignment, but the Sox want to make sure that the oblique doesn't stay a problem for Crain. He was slowed in spring training with a right oblique, so there is a recent history there.

--2B Gordon Beckham continued backing up his talk that he was close to getting out of his slow April start, as the infielder went 3-for-4 with three RBI in the loss to Detroit, and was now hitting .233. According to Beckham, talking to team captain Paul Konerko a lot has been a huge help. "I think I'm really close," Beckham said. "I talk to Paul a lot. He's seen the same stuff and he figured it out. I think I'm starting to figure it out. It's been a process, but I've been growing through a lot of anguish. You've got to get to that point where you don't care. That's what I try and remind myself all the time. You care, but it's almost like, 'Whatever happens, I'm good with it either way.' That's where I'm getting to now and it's a good feeling."

--1B Paul Konerko was back at first base against Detroit on Friday, but admitted that playing in the field has been taking a bigger toll on his body, and was willing to give Adam Dunn some more time there so that Konerko could DH a bit more. Robin Ventura has no plans to use Dunn in left field, even though it was discussed in spring training.

BY THE NUMBERS
7-2 -- The career record for Gavin Floyd against the Detroit Tigers. Floyd also has a 3.48 ERA against the Central Division rivals over 18 career starts.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"This was a decision based solely -- it had nothing to do with anyone else -- other than Chris." -- Sox pitching coach Don Cooper, on the decision the Sox made Friday to take Chris Sale out of the starting rotation and into the bullpen. The fear was that Sale's elbow would not hold up as a starter, and they want to prevent major injury.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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