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Third and goal: White Sox should break free — finally — from fourth place

With a 36-37 record entering play Saturday, the Sox were 12 games better in their first 73 games than they were last season (24-49) on their way to losing 100 games.

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ARLINGTON, Texas — The White Sox will wake up Sunday in third place in the American League Central, which is nothing to write home to Chicago about.

Unless you have been mired in fourth for the previous five seasons and finished fifth the season before that.

The Sox entered their game late Saturday against the Rangers with a 36-37 record after 73 games, a 12-game improvement from their 24-49 mark on their way to losing 100 games last season. Sunday will be their 42nd day in third place, comfortably ahead of the Tigers and Royals.

They are still far from the organizational goal of contending for multiple championships, but ‘‘we’re trending in a real good way,’’ manager Rick Renteria said. ‘‘We have a lot of young players who are showing up. They’re being recognized.

‘‘We’re not finished yet. This season, everybody didn’t expect for us to be where we’re at. But these guys are showing everybody they’re capable of doing a lot of different things. Those players in there are putting the Chicago White Sox on the map, and we’re really happy about that.’’

Bullpen day likely

Renteria said he probably will opt for a bullpen day Tuesday in Boston, which would be the second time this season the Sox have started a reliever. Ryan Burr started May 20 in Houston and was followed by Jace Fry, Josh Osich, Jose Ruiz and Juan Minaya.

Lucas Giolito will start Monday against Eduardo Rodriguez, and Reynaldo Lopez will face former Sox ace Chris Sale on Wednesday. David Price goes Tuesday for the Red Sox.

Collins behind the plate

Zack Collins got his first start as the Sox’ catcher Saturday. Collins, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2016 draft, homered in his first official at-bat and second plate appearance as the designated hitter Friday.

Renteria said Collins, who replaced Welington Castillo (strained oblique) on the 25-man roster Tuesday, likely will catch one or two games a week while he’s with the team. All-Star candidate James McCann — who had played in 15 of the Sox’ first 16 games in June, including 13 at catcher — wasn’t in the starting lineup.

‘‘Mac is taking the brunt of the catching,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘But you could see Zack a day or two a week, maybe, depending on the matchups.’’

Collins also might play a little first base and be used again at DH.

‘‘We’re doing everything we can to give him kind of a nice, gradual introduction or immersion into the big-league game and go from there,’’ Renteria said.

This and that

Closer Alex Colome said he didn’t know he broke Dustin Hermanson’s team record with his 16th save in 16 chances to start the season Friday.

‘‘That means a lot to me because the opportunity they have given me here to be the closer of this team made me very happy,’’ he said.

• Right-hander Dylan Covey will throw his second bullpen session Sunday since going on the injured list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder.

‘‘We’ll see how it goes, and then we can make a clear assessment of when we use him,’’ Renteria said.

• Osich was defeated by Rangers reliever Shawn Kelley in a cow-milking contest on the field before the game. It should be noted Osich had no prior experience milking cows; Kelley did.

ARLINGTON, Texas — The White Sox will wake up Sunday in third place in the American League Central, which is nothing to write home to Chicago about.

Unless your franchise has been mired in fourth place for the previous five seasons, and fifth place the year before that.

With a 36-37 record going into their game against the Rangers Saturday night, the Sox were 12 games improved over last season when they were 24-49 on their way to losing 100 games. Sunday will be their 42nd day in third place, comfortably ahead of the Royals and Tigers.

They were two games behind the second-place Indians in the loss column, which is far from the organizational goal of contending for multiple champions, but “we’re trending in a real good way,’’ manager Rick Renteria said.

“We have a lot of young players who are showing up, they’re being recognized.

“We’re not finished yet. This season, everybody didn’t expect for us to be where we’re at but these guys are showing everybody they’re capable of doing a lot of different things. Those players in there are putting the Chicago White Sox on the map and we’re really happy about that.”

Bullpen day ‘probable’

Renteria said a bullpen day is the “probable” choice for Tuesday in Boston, which would be the second time the Sox start a relief pitcher. Ryan Burr started at Houston May 20, a 3-0 loss that saw Burr go two innings (one unearned run), followed by Jace Fry, Osich, Jose Ruiz and Juan Minaya.

Lucas Giolito starts Monday against Eduardo Rodriguez, and Reynaldo Lopez opposes former Sox ace Chris Sale Wednesday. David Price goes Tuesday for the Red Sox.

Collins behind the plate

Zack Collins got his first start at catcher Saturday. Collins, a No. 10 overall draft pick in 2016, homered in his first at-bat and second plate appearance as the designated hitter Friday.

Renteria said Collins, who replaced Welington Castillo (oblique strain) on the 25-man roster Tuesday, will likely catch one or two games per week while he’s with the club. All-Star candidate James McCann, who had played in 15 of the first 16 games in June including 13 at catcher (12 starts), was not in the starting lineup.

“Mac is taking the brunt of the catching,” Renteria said. “But you could see Zack a day or two a week, maybe, depending on the matchups.”

Collins might also play at first base and be used again at DH.

“We’re doing everything we can to give him kind of a nice ... gradual introduction or immersion into the big league game and go from there,” Renteria said.

This and that

Closer Alex Colome didn’t know he broke Dustin Hermanson’s club record with his 16th save in his first 16 chances to start a season. “That means a lot to me,” he said, “because the opportunity they have given me here to be the closer of this team made me very happy.”

“Location.

*Dylan Covey will throw his second bullpen Sunday since going on the injured list with shoulder inflammation. “We’ll see how it goes and then we can make a clear assessment of when we use him,” Renteria said.

*Osich was defeated by Rangers right-hander Shawn Kelley in a cow-milking contest on the field before the game. It should be noted Osich had no prior experience milking cows, while Kelley has.