CHICAGO | John Danks is coming, eventually.
Gavin Floyd is going, on the shelf.
And the White Sox are still stuck in the rut of too many swings and misses, and ill-timed errors.
The Sunday announcements of lefty Danks going for his first minor-league rehab start and Floyd being consigned to the disabled list with another arm injury almost overshadowed another numbing defeat, this time 8-3 to the Tampa Bay Rays.
The bullpen, solid most of the season so far, gave up five runs in the last two innings as the Rays broke a 3-3 tie. Alex Rios made matters worse with a two-run error in right, bobbling Ryan Roberts’ sinking fly in the eighth.
Meanwhile, the Sox have struck out 25 times in the past two games against the Rays, as left-handers Matt Moore and David Price, Sunday’s starter, mastered an injury-decimated lineup.
“Those are obviously two good arms right there,” said Sox captain Paul Konerko, who slugged a two-run homer to put the Sox ahead 3-1 in the third. “They’re going to pitch well at any point during the season. Early in the year, some guys are still feeling for it (hitting). It’s not a great combination.
“We fought them hard, and it just wasn’t in the cards.”
Recovering from 2012 shoulder surgery, Danks will finally leave extended spring training in Arizona behind. He’ll make a start for Double-A Birmingham against Chattanooga on Thursday.
“I’m excited to go pitch (in a minor league) atmosphere and that’s one step closer to getting back,” Danks said. “To graduate from Arizona and get to move on, that’s a good thing.”
Although Danks rated his final Arizona start Friday as “not as sharp” and “a little tough,” manager Robin Ventura said he “had a positive report,” enabling the progression to the rehab appearance.
Danks’ return to the Sox couldn’t come at a better time after Floyd was put on the 15-day disabled list for the second time since last August with a flexor strain suffered Saturday night. Left-hander Deunte Heath, who pitched Sunday, was recalled to fill Floyd’s spot.
“Last year it was in a different spot,” Floyd said. “(Saturday) it was one pitch, I felt it, and I’m going to pitch through it. I threw a couple more and I felt like it was getting worse and stiffening up.
“The muscle area I strained last year looked pretty normal. That’s a positive. Further back is definitely inflamed and aggravated. Last year it was more on breaking balls I’d feel it. This year, it was more on fastballs.”
The Sox don’t feel a bad injury trend is afoot with Floyd. He also was disabled earlier in 2012 with tendinitis in the same area in his arm.
“I don’t think there’s anything we’re doing that’s making it happen,” Ventura said. “I think baseball makes it happen. Things happen. It’s part of playing baseball. (Pitching) is not a natural act. Hopefully, they get over it quick.”
Danks hopes Floyd’s absence could be a spur to his return.
“That was hard to watch,” he said. “We all hope he’s OK. It’s actually what I said (Saturday) when it happened — I’m ready to get back out there. Maybe that will move the process along a little quicker.”