NEW YORK -- Although White Sox hitters haven’t found any surefire solutions and they have pressed, Paul Konerko knows the process in place is sound.
As long as the effort there, Konerko expects things will turn around for an offense that has struggled severely out of the gate.
Entering Wednesday, the White Sox were last in the American League in runs (104), hits (229), walks (70), team average (.223), on-base percentage (.276) and OPS (.644). The club has been shutout three times and has scored three runs or fewer in 16 of 31 games.
“Of course in situations like this there’s definitely times where yourself or other guys are trying too hard, but that’s just human nature,” Konerko said. “There’s nothing you can say about the effort and how prepared guys get. It’s all there. I’ve been on teams that have had great offenses, and as far as it looks before the game, it’s not much different than what you see here.”
Leadoff man Alejandro De Aza admits what he sees hasn’t been very pretty.
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De Aza -- who finished with a .349 on-base percentage last season -- has struck out 40 times in 131 plate appearances. Last season, he whiffed109 times in 585 trips.
Though he homered for a sixth time early Wednesday, De Aza, whose pro high of 13 was set in 2011, doesn’t see any correlation between the increase in his home runs and strikeouts. De Aza said he hasn’t changed much in his approach and doesn’t believe pitchers have attacked him differently.
Much like Konerko, De Aza said he has to trust his process.
“It's not always going to be good in baseball,” De Aza said. “We have to keep playing hard, keep working and I know good thing is going to come.”
Through Tuesday, Konerko has four homers and 15 RBIs in 29 games. But his current .657 OPS is the lowest he has had in any season since he was a rookie in 1998. White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he’s seen decent signs from Konerko, who wore a grotesquely large ice pack on his lower back before he hit the cages Wednesday. Ventura said the pack is “normal stuff” and is more preventative than anything.
“He’s been fighting through at-bats,” Ventura said. “That’s pretty much what you can do at this point. He’s fighting and working through it. It’s not where he wants to be, but you can see glimpses of coming out. Kansas City, he hit the ball very well, but it’s a big park. It wasn’t carrying good. We’ve been playing in some weather that will make you change your swing a bit. Hopefully it warms up and guys will feel better.”
As Konerko is fond of saying, hitters aren’t guaranteed anything, even if they put in the work. He also knows there are no easy answers to the team’s hitting woes or they would have been implemented “four weeks ago.” But he figures that with patience and process the offense will heat up soon.
“Ultimately (results) are what we get judged on as a team and as a player but you can’t try to chase that,” Konerko said. “You have to just know what you’re doing is right. You have to believe that over the long haul of the schedule, that when’s it all said and done, you get to where you want to get to.”
Hector hears ‘em
White Sox pitcher Hector Santiago said 60 or 70 friends and family waited for him after Tuesday’s game, when he pitched against the team for which he rooted as a boy. But the Newark, N.J. native said he didn’t have to wait until afterward to locate his fans in the stands. Whereas those friends had the chance to be loud one time in his relief appearance at Yankee Stadium last June, they took advantage of all their opportunities on Tuesday.
“Every single inning as I was walking it just got louder and louder,” Santiago said. “Toward the fifth, sixth and seventh, they started all the group coming together and figuring out where everybody was at and the crowd got bigger later on in the game.”
-- The White Sox announced Gavin Floyd had successful surgery on Tuesday to repair the ulnar collateral ligament and flexor muscles in his right elbow. Floyd is expected to miss 14-19 months after what Dr. David Altchek described as a surgery that “could not have gone better.”
-- Ventura and countless players in the White Sox clubhouse were in awe of the 12-strikeout, one-hit performance put on by New York’s Matt Harvey on Tuesday night.
“I’ve seen no-hitters, but it’s close,” Ventura said. “He was dominant and had everything. I think even early, you see the velocity he has and the location and even at the end, the strength he had of getting through it. He was doing it.”