Putnam to test elbow after All-Star break

Putnam to test elbow after All-Star break

CHICAGO -- Zach Putnam plans to throw off the mound Saturday in Anaheim for the first time since being placed on the disabled list June 21 with ulnar neuritis in his right elbow.

Putnam is trying to come back and pitch for the White Sox during the 2016 season, putting off some sort of surgery until the offseason.

"It's likely I'll need a little clean up," said Putnam, who has talked about potentially having arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips or having something more significant done to fix his elbow. "It would be very beneficial to everybody to be able to get through the rest of the season and have it done."

The right-hander has a 2.30 ERA over 27 1/3 innings this season. He has been playing catch from 120 feet and plans to throw again Thursday at home in Ann Arbor, Mich., during the All-Star break. He'll do so again when the team heads to Anaheim to open the second-half of the season.

Putnam has been told that pitching through his current issue can't do any further damage.

"Essentially yeah. So that's what we are operating under right now," Putnam said. "Actually getting on the mound for the first time will be very telling. It's responding pretty well.

"Again, it's all about expectations. I'm not expecting it to be 100 percent. I know there are some things in there that are just going to be there until they get fixed. As long as I can temper my expectations to where I'm not looking for it to be completely 100 percent, then it's progressing."

Injury update

The high strain suffered by White Sox closer David Robertson in his left leg was feeling better Sunday, according to White Sox manager Robin Ventura. Robertson missed the entire Braves series but is expected to be back on the mound if needed Friday in Anaheim. Catcher Alex Avila, on the disabled list due to a right hamstring strain, played catch with director of conditioning Allen Thomas on Sunday and said he was feeling good.

"Our list got really big the last couple days. So you deal with it," said Ventura of the injuries, which included Carlos Rodon's trip to the disabled list Saturday. "Fortunately, the Robbie one happened at a time when you're right before the break. You catch a break by having these days where he can heal up."

Morneau moves to Birmingham

After a day off Sunday, Justin Morneau's injury rehab assignment takes him to Double-A Birmingham Monday. Morneau finished 2-for-17 in six games for Triple-A Charlotte, but it's more about the process than the results for the veteran.

"It's always going to be about his pace and what he feels like he can handle," Ventura said. "We're at a point where you'd welcome it as soon as you can get him as long as he's comfortable and feels like he's ready. We're going to have to be patient with that, knowing when's the right time to give a thumbs up.

"He's a veteran presence in there, left-handed hitter, and any time you add somebody like him or you mix him in there, your lineup gets a little deeper. There's a dangerous left-handed hitter in there that we didn't necessarily have before that you can insert in there. It helps your lineup in a lot of different ways."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.