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Danks to start today, but he'd rather face Cubs at home
By Scot Gregor | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 6/20/2008 12:06 AM

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John Danks was a little bummed last season.

As a rookie starting pitcher, Danks' turn never came up when the White Sox faced the Cubs.

That's not the case this year. Danks will get the ball today when the Sox play the first of three at Wrigley Field.

"Looking forward to it,'' Danks said. "We all understand that this is huge for the city.''

Danks won't start against the Cubs next weekend at U.S. Cellular Field, and he's kind of bummed about that, too.

"I'd rather pitch against them at home,'' said the 23-year-old pitcher. "Wrigley Field is historical, but it's just not my cup of tea. I guess it's old and small.''

This is going to be a big series between two first-place teams, but Danks is looking at the bigger picture.

"I'm just going to try to approach it like any other game,'' he said. "It's big, but with that being said, it's only June and we're in a race here in the (AL) Central. That's the most important thing.''

Konerko update: On the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle, White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko is hoping to get on an exercise bike this weekend.

Konerko said the plan is to start doing some light core work with a medicine ball next week and proceed from there.

Eligible to come off the DL on June 30, Konerko still isn't sure if he'll need to go on a minor-league rehabilitation assignment before rejoining the Sox.

"That's up to (general manager) Kenny (Williams),'' Konerko said.

If he does head to the minors, Konerko hopes he can go a few days before he comes off the DL.

"That way, I could be back here the day I come off,'' Konerko said. "We'll see how it goes.''

No controversy: When Toby Hall came off the disabled list last season after dislocating his right shoulder in spring training, his first game was against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

That sparked a controversy between Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and WSCR morning host Mike North, who thought A.J. Pierzynski should have been behind the plate.

The right-handed Hall has been getting regular playing time against left-handed starters, but Guillen said the left-handed hitting Pierzynski is going to be in the lineup today against Cubs lefty Ted Lilly.

Guillen also reiterated that Jim Thome might get a start at first base, either Saturday or Sunday.

"It's all about how he feels,'' Guillen said. "We have (Juan) Uribe and (Pablo) Ozuna taking groundballs there, just in case. In the middle of the game, if we have to make a move, I'm not going to play Jimmy in the middle of the game.''

Thome said he expects to start one of the games against the Cubs.

"I haven't played there much lately,'' said Thome, who made one appearance at first base last season. "If they need me there, I'll just go out and let my instincts take over.''