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Ace-off: Scherzer takes on Sale in Chicago

The last time Chris Sale faced the Tigers, he threw a pitch up and in to Prince Fielder which set off a chain of events that led to the benches clearing, Detroit reliever Luke Putkonen being ejected for throwing a pitch behind Alexei Ramirez, and Tigers manager Jim Leyland tossed for arguing vehemently with umpires.

Don't expect an encore performance, however, as Sale apologized and smoothed things over with Fielder and Leyland during the All-Star break.

"He's my new favorite enemy," Leyland said about Sale on Friday. "He's a terrific guy. We had a lot of rapport when we were [in New York], him and I. I really enjoyed it. He's really a good kid, terrific pitcher."

Sale will pitch opposite Max Scherzer, whom he followed in the All-Star Game. Scherzer lost his first game of the season on July 13 to the Rangers, snapping a streak of 19 starts without a loss.

"I mean, obviously, it's a nice streak," Scherzer said. "Hopefully, it just shows well and I can pitch consistently. I believe in my talents, and I believe going forward I'm going to put together other streaks as well."

Sale is hoping for a strong second half, after going 7-6 with a 4.03 ERA last year following a 10-2 record and 2.19 ERA in the first half.

"[Pitching coach Don Cooper] and I talked about it [Saturday] in my sideline session," Sale said. "This year, let's spring across the finish line instead of stumbling across or fall across. Just trying to keep building strength and keep doing my job and going out there and pitch and trying to win games."

White Sox: Konerko expected to return
• Paul Konerko is expected to rejoin the lineup Monday after completing a three-game Minor League rehab assignment.

"[Saturday] night he was swinging it pretty good. Health-wise, he's looking good," said Sox manager Robin Ventura of Konerko. "Any time you get Paulie back, it's important for a lot of different reasons."

Konerko finished 4-for-10 at Double-A Birmingham, going 3-for-4 with a run scored Saturday. He has been on the disabled list since July 3 with a lower back strain.

• Righty Gavin Floyd is holding out hope that he can return for the 2014 season despite an initial recovery estimate of 14-19 months when he had elbow surgery in May.

"Everybody's different; I've heard guys come back in 10 months, I've heard guys come back in 12 and 14," Floyd said. "So, you know, I'm hopeful that I'll come back and be ready early next year, but you never know.

Floyd has some range of motion back in his right arm after having season-ending surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament and a torn flexor muscle in his elbow.

Tigers: Infante likely out for Chicago series
• Although Omar Infante hoped to rejoin the Tigers in Chicago, a flight delay coming back from Florida may have cost him any chance of doing so. The delay essentially meant a lost day to travel, which pushed back his recovery schedule.

"We miss Omar," Leyland said. "He's a good big league player and our regular second baseman."

With Infante out, right-handed-hitting Hernan Perez likely will start against White Sox left-handers Sale and Hector Santiago on Monday and Tuesday.

"That's what he's here for," Leyland said. "He's young, very talented and I think he's a terrific, terrific prospect."

Worth noting
• The White Sox are hitting .292 with runners in scoring position since June 1, the highest mark in the American League during that span.

• The Tigers' Victor Martinez is batting .397 with 11 runs scored, eight doubles, two home runs and 11 RBIs in July.

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