BOSTON -- Matt Thornton had somewhere around a 10-to-15 minute drive from his home in Chicago to U.S. Cellular Field while playing for the White Sox. He has reduced that commute to a five-minute walk from his new residence in Boston to Fenway Park.
That short daily trip has helped make his adjustment from the White Sox to the Red Sox a smooth one, although it wasn't quite so simple when he was traded for Minor League outfielder Brandon Jacobs while the team was in Philadelphia just two days before the All-Star break.
"It was crazy when it all went down, having to fly to the West Coast [Oakland] and back [to Chicago] and then the break," Thornton said. "Getting home didn't feel like I was at home and once we got back over here, it started feeling like home to me. Now the red is pretty much the norm for me."
Thornton, 36, missed 16 games with Boston because of an oblique strain on his right side. He has thrown two scoreless innings since returning and has a 1.86 ERA over 12 games with the Red Sox. Despite having his career batteries recharged by moving to a playoff team, the White Sox all-time holds leader and relief appearances leader admits leaving Chicago after 7 1/2 years was tough at first.
"My daughter was born in Chicago. I got married when I was in a Chicago. A lot of big things in my life happened," said Thornton, whose wife, Emily, is expecting their second child. "In '08, we made the playoffs and I saw a lot of great individual accomplishments: [Mark] Buehrle's perfect game and no-hitter, [Jim] Thome's 500th homer, Game 163, all the neat things I saw over there. A lot of special times for me.
"Hard to leave but at the same time, I'm at that point in my career where winning is all that matters. The season is always a grind no matter if you're winning or losing, and when you're losing like we were with Chicago, it becomes even more of a grind. So you go to a winning atmosphere and a winning team and they're expected to win and have a great chance to make the playoffs, that does refresh you a little bit and the grind becomes a little easier."
Leesman has chance to impress out of bullpen
BOSTON -- All 17 of Charlie Leesman's 2013 appearances have come as a starter.
Of the 128 career trips to the mound made by the southpaw, with 127 on the Minor League level and one start for the White Sox on Aug. 9 of this season, all but two have been part of his team's respective rotation. But with Leesman's callup from Triple-A Charlotte prior to Sunday's game, his role is about to change.
Leesman, 26, will be working in relief for the White Sox with a chance to figure into the 2014 big league bullpen plan. Manager Robin Ventura said Sunday morning that Leesman probably would get a start in September, but Leesman seems ready for the role change.
"Whatever the position is, I'm more than happy to go after it that way," Leesman said. "In terms of relieving, I think the last time I did it was in [winter ball in] Puerto Rico in 2011, I had like 12 innings and the year before it was the [Arizona] Fall League.
"I'm going back to the Fall League to try to do that again. I wasn't really expecting that when they told me, but if it can help me make the team next year out of camp, then it's awesome."
Extra work given to Leesman, including an upcoming stint in the AFL, helps make up for lost innings because of surgery on his left knee. Leesman could have gone elsewhere when he was designated for assignment by the White Sox on April 14 to make room for Tyler Greene and eventually claimed by the Rangers, but he decided to stay with the organization that knew him and knew his ongoing rehab that began late last September.
Although his locker placard at Fenway Park Sunday mistakenly read "Jose Leesman," the White Sox certainly know who he is and realize what he can contribute.
"I've been with the White Sox since I've been drafted, and regardless of the DFA, I trust them that they're going to take care of me," Leesman said. "They know how hard I work. Between me and my agent, we decided it was the best opportunity and best chance to stay with the team and the organization that knows me best and I know them. I think we made a great decision."
Ventura ejected in fourth inning at Fenway
BOSTON -- Robin Ventura was ejected for the seventh time in his managerial career and the third time this season during Sunday's 7-6 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Crew chief Dana DeMuth ejected Ventura after he argued a no-catch call by third-base umpire Paul Nauert on a line drive Conor Gillaspie appeared to grab.
It was a play that had a direct effect on the outcome and Boston's completion of a three-game sweep, which marked the 11th time the White Sox were swept this season.
With Jacoby Ellsbury on third, one out and Boston leading, 5-4, Gillaspie dove toward the line to snag Dustin Pedroia's shot off reliever Charlie Leesman and the ball only appeared to come out of his glove when Gillaspie crawled toward third and tried to double up Ellsbury. Nauert ruled no catch from the start, and Gillaspie's throw got by first baseman Jeff Keppinger for a run-scoring hit and an error.
"I guess he said I didn't control it," said Gillaspie. "I kind of looked at the replay. I was trying to double a guy off at third, so when I went after I caught it and hit the ground, I kind of came up and it came out a little bit.
"Like I said, it's obviously a tough play and a tough error for me. I can either do that or watch it go by me. I obviously think I caught it, but until I know that for sure, I'm going to try to get the guy out at first running, too."
Ventura's argument began with Nauert. It was DeMuth who eventually came over from second base and tossed the White Sox manager.
Slumping Beckham given day of rest Sunday
BOSTON -- Gordon Beckham has gone just 7-for-50 in his last 13 games, with his average falling from .313 to .283 during that span. That slump, coupled with some physical dings, caused manager Robin Ventura to rest his second baseman Sunday.
"For Gordon, he's had little things here and there. I think he's just frustrated," Ventura said. "You can see him getting frustrated. It's just a day to kind of take it off of his mind."
Beckham has admitted in the past to changing his hitting approach or stance too often during slumps. He has found success with the slight, Cal Ripken-looking crouch developed at the end of last year, and Ventura doesn't want Beckham's present slump to lead to changes away from progress.
"It's changed from his wrist and then a leg thing," said Ventura, referring to Beckham's broken hamate bone in his left hand sustained in April and a right quad strain in August. "It's changed enough to keep him frustrated to where he hasn't felt comfortable at the plate.
"But you got to figure out a way to get it back. Some time you go too far and do too much and go back to square one. So, that's probably where he's at right now."
Third to first
• Catcher Bryan Anderson joined Leesman as additions to the White Sox when rosters expanded Sunday, pushing the team's 40-man to 37 and the active roster to 27. More players are expected to be added Tuesday in New York, after Triple-A Charlotte's season ends Monday.
These are Minor Leaguers who figure to get a fair share of September playing time, meaning veterans could lose starts. Ventura plans to talk to those veterans but doesn't need a specific sitdown to convey his point.
"Again, they have to understand that other guys are coming up and as long as they are here, they are going to get some playing time," Ventura said. "Nobody is running after Cal's [consecutive games] record, so we'll be able to do it."
• The White Sox posted a 16-13 mark in August that stood as the fifth-best record in the American League. It also was their second winning month this season. The team ranked third in the AL with a 3.38 ERA during August and posted monthly season bests with a .262 average and 117 runs scored.
• Chris Beck, who was the White Sox second-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, has produced a 13-10 record with a 3.07 ERA over 26 combined starts between stops with Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham.