Robin Ventura

Robin Ventura watches the action from the dugout in the first inning. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune / June 18, 2014)

Rumors automatically increase in July in anticipation of the trade deadline at the end of the month, and White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he knows his team won't be exempt.

"It's natural for every team to have those kind of things," Ventura said. "For us, it's just taking care of playing the game. We'll play well and then there will be a spurt where you don't do things well and you get beat. It has to be more consistent to be able to make an extended run."

The Sox are 40-46 and were in fourth place in the American League Central, 91/2 games behind the division-leading Tigers entering Thursday.

The Sox have several players who could see the trade block if a downward trend continues. But with a group of young players entrenched in the Sox lineup for the future, Ventura said the feeling this season is not as dire as it was in July 2013, when the month brought the departures of veterans Jake Peavy, Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton.

"It was bad last year," Ventura said. "I think that was a little more in your face. Here, you see, it's just better, as far as being able to compete with certain teams and playing better. … It's pretty inconsistent, but last year was just bad."

Second guess: Ventura recently said he knows a pitching decision gone wrong often draws second-guessers, and he faced some questions Wednesday when he left starter John Danks, at 117 pitches, in to face Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton in the eighth inning. Hamilton then hit the tying home run.

Ventura said he might have made the same decision even if he had a more stable bullpen.

"It's not an easy part of the lineup to go through, but the way he was pitching and previously how he had gone through that part of the lineup, you give him a shot at it," Ventura said. "I felt that was the best way to go."

Danks said he felt great and wanted to be out in the eighth and said he appreciated the confidence Ventura showed in him, even if it wasn't rewarded.

"He's got every bit of faith in us, so it seems at least," Danks said. "He gives us a chance to go out there. He kind of looks at it as we did, as our ballgame. That certainly goes a long way, that your manager has your back. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get out of the eighth."

Extra innings: The Sox requested waivers on left-handed reliever Scott Downs for the purpose of granting his unconditional release. Downs was designated for assignment on June 26 after posting a 6.08 ERA this season. … Sox outfield prospect Courtney Hawkins was placed on the disabled list with Class A Winston-Salem because of a concussion.