DETROIT -- Paul Konerko once described the job of a Major League Baseball hitting coach as the toughest at any level of any professional sport.
The 2013 White Sox season has given Jeff Manto a greater understanding of Konerko's assessment, albeit an unwanted understanding.
After finishing fourth in the American League in runs scored during Manto's 2012 debut as the White Sox hitting coach, the offense ranks last in that particular category in 2013. The White Sox had scored just 392 runs entering Saturday night's contest, joining the Marlins (351) as the only teams below 400 in the game.
Manto features an extraordinarily positive attitude amidst this extraordinarily disappointing campaign. But in surveying this White Sox landscape, Manto admitted Saturday the shortcomings are not totally unexpected.
"We can point our fingers to a lot of different things," Manto told MLB.com before his group faced 15-game-winner Max Scherzer. "We didn't have our offense together all year.
"Gordon Beckham was gone for 1 1/2 months, Konerko for 30 days, [Dayan] Viciedo was out for a while. We had young catchers learning how to hit at the Major League level. There are a lot of things that point to the fact that this year should be different.
"Statistically we are not as good as we were last year, but there are a lot more intangibles that were different last year as well," Manto said. "I don't think we are doing anything different."
General manager Rick Hahn gave Robin Ventura and his coaching staff a vote of support during a Thursday morning interview on WSCR 670 AM, the White Sox flagship station. Ventura basically did the same thing for his staff on Saturday.
"We're all working hard and doing everything," Ventura said. "It's not like he's done anything different to make them do this or is purposely different. It doesn't mean [Manto] knows more or less. It just means everyone is still trying to figure it out."
As for Manto's future, which should produce an influx of younger players to work with, it only goes as far as that day's game for the White Sox hitting coach.
"Nobody is giving up in here at all," Manto said. "We have a lot of work to do and a lot of stuff on our plate. Every day we come in here and try to be as enthusiastic as we possibly can.
"Our coaching staff can't wait to get to the ballpark so we can teach. This is part of the gig, what we signed up for, but unfortunately we are in the position we are. But every coach in our room has been through this as a player."
Santiago eyeing continued rotation role in 2014
DETROIT -- Teams such as the Tigers, Rangers, Yankees, Indians and Orioles await Hector Santiago among his 11 projected starts through the end of 2013 campaign. Although he certainly has proven worthy of the starting rotation, with 96 strikeouts over 88 2/3 innings and a 3.15 ERA in 15 starts, Santiago believes the finish to the season will have a bearing on his role in '14.
"Obviously now we are in the heat of the mix, and we are going to be facing Detroit and the Yankees and a lot of tough teams coming up right now," Santiago said. "This is the challenge right here to whether I solidify myself as a starter in '14 or if I'm a guy who can go back and forth and be that rover from the bullpen."
Santiago has talked about starting as almost his calling from early on in Spring Training, '12, before he even broke camp with his first big league squad. But the energetic southpaw wouldn't be disappointed if he ended up in that blended starter/relief role for the White Sox, with left-handers Chris Sale, John Danks and Jose Quintana already seeming like locks for future rotation spots.
"I don't know what their plans are," Santiago said. "If it's [Erik] Johnson or whoever else is down there coming up behind us or they got rid of [Jake] Peavy and maybe that loosens up money, where they go up and get someone else in free agency or trade.
"You can't control that. Your job is to go out there and pitch and show them you can pitch every day or every fifth day and be a starter here and especially in this division."
Wise placed on waivers for unconditional release
DETROIT -- The White Sox requested waivers on Dewayne Wise for the purpose of granting the outfielder his unconditional release. The 35-year-old has been on the disabled since June 2 with a strained right hamstring and a right oblique strain.
Wise hit .234 with one homer and three RBIs over 30 games for the White Sox and hit .170 in 16 games as part of a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte. The move benefits Wise and affords the White Sox young outfielders greater opportunity to contribute in the final two months.
"We get that with Jordan [Danks] being up here and with [Blake] Tekotte and Jordan, you get the same thing," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "I don't know if it's younger or how you look at it, but it's seeing other guys and seeing what they can do. And it's giving [Wise] another shot to get do something else, too."
Sox bringing aggressive approach to Tigers pitchers
DETROIT -- Detroit starting pitcher Doug Fister needed just 45 pitches to get through the first five innings of Friday's 2-1 victory. But that paltry pitch total didn't go against the White Sox offensive plan where Fister was concerned.
"The goal was to get him early obviously," said White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto of Fister. "He throws a lot of strikes and there's no reason for us to stand behind and wait for a curveball because that curveball is just as good.
"A lot of ground balls, the double plays that we had, really expedited his pitch count. He was out of it in a hurry. He had the good sinker working, a lot of good sinkers on our right-handers."
More swings early in the count were expected Saturday from the White Sox against Max Scherzer, barring a bout of wildness for the right-hander. Manto explained that the specific game approach for his offense depends in part on the opposing pitcher.
"Scouting reports come in and some guys throw a lot of strikes early in the count and we want to ambush them," Manto said. "There are some guys where we have to wait and let them spray the ball all over the place to get their pitch counts up. Certainly we follow what scouting reports say and what the computers say and then we put a plan together.
"We've run pitch counts up as well this year. You get guys like Fister and Scherzer, there's no need to wait around for secondary pitches because they are way better than their fastballs. There's no reason why we want to get after Scherzer's slider. If he throws us a first-pitch fastball and we are a fastball-hitting team, there's no reason for us to try to hit the secondary stuff."
Third to first
• Adam Dunn's two singles in Friday's 2-1 loss to the Tigers gave the slugger 1,500 hits over his 13-year-career. That total includes 431 homers, 312 doubles and 10 triples. But the milestone in yet another loss didn't exactly move Dunn.
"That's about probably 100 or 200th on the list of things to worry about," said Dunn after Friday's setback. "It will be something cool later. But now it means nothing."
• The Cardinals and the White Sox are the only two teams to play less than 50 games at home this season, both sitting at 49. The White Sox begin a 10-game homestand Monday night against the Yankees.
• Ventura is looking forward to seeing new acquisition Avisail Garcia after Garcia went 3-for-4 with a home run, four RBIs and two runs scored starting for Triple-A Charlotte Friday.
"We've seen him from afar," said Ventura of Garcia. "But it's always different when you see him on your team and how he fits in and how you'll use him."
• After 10-12 start on the road, the White Sox have a 7-27 mark in their last 34 away from home.
• Konerko returned to first base Saturday night, marking his first game in the field for the White Sox since June 23 in Kansas City due to a lower back strain.