"It was neat. I didn't even know until after the game," Thornton said. "I look back at it and it definitely was a unique situation. It was fun, a good situation to be in."
After struggling in his undefined role in the bullpen at the beginning of the season, and sitting out from April 14-28 with a sore lower back, Thornton has come back strong.
He has made six straight scoreless outings, striking out nine and allowing only two hits in 5 1/3 innings pitched.
"I think I'm at the point where I'm pitching like I knew I could pitch. I believe in myself, and [manager] Ozzie [Guillen] and [pitching coach, Don] Cooper believe in me, too," Thornton said.
Thornton was acquired over the offseason in a trade with Seattle, where he went 0-4 with a 5.21 ERA in 55 relief appearances last season. He has now been working steadily with Cooper for the last four months and feels like the work is finally starting to pay dividends.
"My control is back now. I'm throwing strikes and getting ahead of hitters right away," Thornton said. "That was always my Achilles heel. I would fall behind... and get in a jam and not be able to get out. I'm avoiding that now, for the most part. I'm kind of pressing their hand to swing the bat a little more."
Thornton has also recorded three wins and six holds this season.
Pushing the deadline: Guillen and general manager Kenny Williams had what Guillen called a "conversation" prior to Saturday's game about the trade deadline.
Guillen said that no moves were imminent, but that he and Williams are always looking to improve the team's pitching.
"I always worry about pitching," Guillen said. "If you pitch, you will win. If you do not pitch, I don't care how good you are on offense."
Guillen said he felt confident about Williams' ability to make aggressive moves and find Guillen top players.
"It's up to your coaching staff and myself to say we need this or we need that," Guillen said. "As soon as we say something [Williams] tries to do the best he can to continue to have success. Right now, we're going to be real aggressive and we'll see what's in the market."
Seeing the future: As a 2003 Futures Game alumnus, Neal Cotts has some advice for this year's participants.
"Enjoy it," Cotts said. "You get to play with [around] 50 top prospects, those are going to be players that are going to be in the big leagues in a couple years. It's a time to relax and enjoy the experience and have fun playing."
Cotts said the experience opened his eyes to what he thought playing in the big leagues would be like.
"I think it gets you kind of adapted to what a big-league clubhouse was and the atmosphere around it. In terms of people in the stands it's similar," Cotts said. "But the big-league level of play is totally different stuff."
Charlotte's third baseman Josh Fields and Kannapolis outfielder Anderson Gomes will be representing the White Sox organization.
Up next: Jose Contreras (9-0, 3.31 ERA) looks to close the first half
out with his 10th win of the season before he heads to the All-Star Game.
Contreras is also trying to extend his regular-season win streak to 18.
Up next: Jose Contreras (9-0, 3.31 ERA) looks to close the first half out with his 10th win of the season before he heads to the All-Star Game. Contreras is also trying to extend his regular-season win streak to 18.
Leslie Parker is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.