A silver lining in Konerko's injury

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A silver lining in Konerko's injury

There's no replacing Paul Konerko in the White Sox lineup. If he's out one day, one week or worse, the Sox aren't better off for it. He's leading the team in OPS, is second in home runs and third in RBIs. And his leadership and professionalism are off the charts.

But at least for the next two games, the Sox can probably manage.

Coming into Friday, Dayan Viciedo didn't have a spot in the White Sox lineup this weekend. With no designated hitter, Adam Dunn was set to man left field for the first time since 2009. That meant Viciedo was going to be relegated to pinch-hitting duties, a role that could've lasted all weekend according to manager Robin Ventura.

But if Konerko has to miss Saturday and Sunday's games, that'll allow Viciedo to stay in the lineup. Dunn played two innings in left and was moved to first base when Konerko was hit in the face, giving way to Viciedo -- who went 1 for 2 on Friday, putting him at 9 for 18 in his last five games.

"We're lucky to have a lot of those options," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "Paul will always be missed. Hopefully hes out shorter rather than longer. But we have to be able to go without him."

While Viciedo will get a chance to keep his success up if Konerko is out, the flip side is Konerko's recent success could be halted. With his home run Friday, Konerko is 20 for his last 49 with three home runs, eight walks, seven RBIs and an OPS over 1.000. To say he's been locked in would be an understatement.

"I feel bad for Paul, the way hes swinging the bat, to have that happen." Pierzynski said. "I just hope hes ok. I think hes doing all right and you never want to see that, no matter who it is."

Yoan Moncada 'relieved' to get first White Sox hit out of way

Yoan Moncada 'relieved' to get first White Sox hit out of way

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yoan Moncada can’t complain much about his first hit with the White Sox.

Given all the elements, it rates about a 9 1/ 2 out of 10. Only a homer would have been better.

Baseball’s top prospect continues to look comfortable at the plate and in the field. Two days after he made his team debut, Moncada earned his first hit when he ripped a two-out, bases-loaded triple early in Friday night’s 7-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals. Moncada finished 1-for-4 with four RBIs.

“Once I got that first hit, I felt relieved,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “First, because it was the first one. And second because of the situation. It was a three RBIs triple. It was a very big moment of the game. I think that from now on I’m going to feel more relaxed and comfortable.”

Moncada has put together a series of good plate appearances in his first two games. He’s looked at ease while in the box and hasn’t panicked even when he gets behind in the count. Moncada said he felt even more comfortable when he stepped in to face Royals starter Ian Kennedy in the third inning. Not only was it his second time facing Kennedy, but Moncada sat in the on-deck circle as Matt Davidson drew a 10-pitch walk to load the bases with two outs.

Hitting left-handed, Moncada fell behind 0-2 in the count but Kennedy hung a 78-mph knuckle curve and the rookie lined it deep into the left-center field gap to clear the bases. Moncada not only showed his power, he also showed off his wheels: his 11.24 seconds from home to third was the fastest time by a White Sox player this season, according to MLB Statcast.

“He's seeing the ball,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He seems pretty calm, composed out there. It's just a couple of days, but in terms of how he's carrying himself, his body language, he seems to be transitioning pretty well up to this point, first couple of days.”

Moncada said Friday was much calmer than his Wednesday debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers when he drew a walk and went 0-for-2. The switch-hitting second baseman had an RBI groundout in his first at-bat Friday to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. Then he stood in and tracked Kennedy with Davidson at the plate.

All in all, Moncada’s happy with how he’s executed his plan at the plate thus far. He said he choked up on the 0-2 pitch and put a good swing on it.

“That at-bat gave me more time to see in real life his pitches,” Moncada said. “I’ve been feeling very comfortable. In Chicago, that first game, it was a little bit nervous. But overall I feel very comfortable hitting and with my defense.”

Fire GM Nelson Rodriguez rings NASDAQ closing bell

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Chicago Fire

Fire GM Nelson Rodriguez rings NASDAQ closing bell

As part of the hype for the MLS All-Star Game, Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez and a handful of Major League Soccer cohorts made a trip to New York on Friday.

Rodriguez rang NASDAQ's closing bell. The MLS All-Star Game will take place at Soldier Field on Aug. 2.

Check out the photos from the occasion.