CHICAGO -- When Jose Quintana was signed as a free agent by the White Sox in November 2011, the left-hander simply was looking forward to being part of a 40-man roster for the first time. He never expected to end the season's first half as one of the American League's most effective starting pitchers, with a 2.04 ERA over 57 1/3 innings.
"You work hard for it and hope to get to this moment," said Quintana through translator and White Sox manager of cultural development Jackson Miranda. "I just wasn't expecting it the way it happened."
Quintana has made nine starts for the White Sox and given up two runs or fewer in eight of them. He already has surpassed his single-season innings high by four with 106 thrown between Double-A Birmingham and the big leagues.
But the 23-year-old southpaw is trying to enjoy the success and continue it, as opposed to worrying about that workload increasing.
"I'm not worried about it. My arm feels good," Quintana said. "I definitely have reached the limits of what I pitched last year, but since my arm feels good, I feel like I can double whatever I did before. I feel all right.
"It has been an incredible first half. I'm really excited to be contributing to the team, and I'm hoping that this can continue on to the second half of the season. It's about being mentally prepared for every fifth day and continuing with the routine I've been doing and I should be fine."
Konerko sings praises of Ventura's managing style
CHICAGO -- When the title of manager and the name of Robin Ventura are presently put together, they are quickly followed by talk of the best first-half work done by an American League man in charge, along with the Yankees' Joe Girardi and the Orioles' Buck Showalter.
Those Spring Training doubts attached to Ventura's complete lack of big league coaching or managerial experience have been replaced by a huge amount of personal credit given to him for the White Sox AL Central-leading status at the All-Star break.
"I guess if there's a natural at doing it, he's got to be right up there," said White Sox captain Paul Konerko of Ventura. "It doesn't seem like anything caught him off guard. The game doesn't seem fast to him. He makes it look easy, I think, for the most part. He manages people well.
"Robin has been great. The whole staff has been. They had a plan coming in from the offseason of what they wanted to do and they have stuck to it -- regardless of the schedules or how we played good or bad -- and just wanted to be consistent with the way they gave us things as we went."
Ventura has become the perfect fit at the perfect time for the White Sox, and put together a high-quality staff that meshes well with his personality and style. He's pretty much what the players expected, according to Konerko, which is a good thing -- as the standings would indicate.
"He's not a yeller or a screamer," Konerko said. "He's not over-managing or anything like that. He trusts his players, but I think he set the tone early that, 'I'm not going to talk a lot, but when I talk, it's important and everybody listen.' He can be stern if he wants to.
"But I think everybody respects him and nobody wants to force his hand in that nature. Everybody wants to show up and play for him. That goes for all of our coaches. There's a lot of, besides the record, the hard work that's going on here."
As far as Ventura's self-assessment, he doesn't feel it's necessary. The players will let him know how he's doing, and so far, that grade stands well above passing.
"Again, I'm in a place where I want to be with a staff I enjoy being around," Ventura said. "The players have been great. I got a good group. I got lucky for the first year. I got pros.
"You're always learning, even guys that have been around a long time. Different situations come up. I don't think I know it all. Every day, you continue to either be a little more comfortable or learn new things."
Ventura gives hints to second-half rotation
CHICAGO -- White Sox manager Robin Ventura indicated Sunday that Chris Sale probably would be starting Sunday's third and final game in the team's second-half debut series in Kansas City, preceded by Jake Peavy.
"I don't know about the first day," Ventura said.
Gavin Floyd seems like the logical choice to open the second half, especially with his 3-1 record and 1.37 ERA over his last four starts. But rookie Jose Quintana might be a better choice, leaving Floyd to pitch Monday in Boston and then Saturday in Detroit.
Floyd has a career 3-0 record at Fenway Park and is 7-0 against the Red Sox. He has a 4-1 mark at Comerica Park and is 7-2 lifetime against the Tigers.
Pitching coach Don Cooper wasn't sure if Peavy's All-Star selection, announced in the eighth inning of Sunday's 11-9 loss to the Blue Jays as a replacement for the Angels' C.J. Wilson, would affect the rotation plan.
"I'm sure we will talk about it and come up with a decision," Cooper said.
Beckham happy with results since sluggish April
CHICAGO -- Before the 2012 season began, the names of Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Jake Peavy and Gordon Beckham were targeted in the category of "Need turnarounds" for the White Sox to succeed.
Peavy, Rios and Dunn have responded, with one All-Star nod and the other two deserving of such recognition. Beckham, meanwhile, feels close but not quite where he wants to be.
"I don't feel like I've done any better or any worse than I should have done, especially for how I started," Beckham said. "I'm happy, but I wish I could take away a month.
"If I take away April, then my stats for two months look pretty good. But you've got to deal with that. I should be hitting for a higher average."
Beckham finished the first half hitting .243 with nine homers and 37 RBIs, leaving him one homer short of his 2011 total. Take away his April, where Beckham finished 9-for-59, and he would be hitting .266.
"When you get in a hole like that, it's always tough to dig yourself out of it," Beckham said. "I definitely think at end of the year, I might not be exactly where I want to be but I'll be respectable. I'll get that average up."
Third to first
The White Sox have an 11-25 record against the Blue Jays since 2008 following Sunday's 11-9 loss. They are 8-12 against Toronto at home during that span.
Chicago, which has been in first place for 41 days this season, enters the All-Star break in first for the first time since 2010, when it had a half-game lead.