Paul Konerko almost never goes on the disabled list.
Jesse Crain has given the underachieving White Sox their best individual performance this season.
Both have been the subject of recent trade rumors and Crain is considered perhaps to be the best bargaining chip for the White Sox, who almost surely will sell some assets in the 28 days leading up to the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline.
So wouldn’t you know it: on Wednesday, the hard luck White Sox took another hit when both Crain and Konerko were placed on the 15-day DL with a right shoulder strain and a lower back strain, respectively.
“If there’s anything that can go wrong this year for the White Sox it has gone wrong and it just keeps on happening,” Crain said.
Crain and Konerko are the ninth and 10th players to be placed on the disabled list in a season only half over as of Wednesday.
The list of injured players has been nothing short of significant.
- Gordon Beckham missed seven weeks with a broken left hamate bone.
- John Danks was out almost two months as he built up arm strength after surgery last August.
- Dayan Viciedo was out for three-plus weeks with an oblique injury.
- Gavin Floyd is out for the season after he underwent reconstructive elbow surgery.
- Jake Peavy has missed a month with a fractured left rib.
The experience is entirely new around these parts as White Sox players spent the least amount of time on the DL from 2002-11, with 700 fewer days than the next closest team in the majors.
For three months now, manager Robin Ventura and general manager Rick Hahn have had to scramble to find replacements while athletic trainers Herm Schneider and Brian Ball have had their hands full.
Asked about the experience being fun, Ventura said “not necessarily.”
“You make due,” he later added.
This is only the third time in Konerko’s 15-year career he has been placed on the DL. While his numbers are down, Konerko, who went 0-for-4 on Tuesday, still offers a presence in the lineup, one Ventura said he’d mix and match to account for. On Wednesday, left fielder Dayan Viciedo was moved to the fifth spot in the lineup.
Konerko had missed six straight games with the injury before he returned for Tuesday’s opener against the Baltimore Orioles.
[WATCH: Crain 'disappointed about DL trip]
Ventura said Konerko informed him he didn’t feel right even though the veteran stung two balls. Ventura thinks Konerko can return when he’s eligible to come off the DL after the All-Star break.
“He got examined and it kept getting worse until he felt like he took a few days backwards as far as the way he was feeling,” Ventura said. “It's something he's felt like he's done before and it passed and the best way to do it is get some rest.”
Crain had an MRI performed early Wednesday.
The right-hander warmed up in the seventh inning on Tuesday night but didn’t appear in the game. Bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen informed Ventura that Crain didn’t think he could pitch. Crain said he felt his shoulder tighten earlier in the day as he played catch.
Crain has a 0.74 ERA in 38 appearances this season.
“I think (it’s) from throwing a lot,” Crain said. “And when I go out there, I go all in. Every game I go in, every pitch is important, so I just think it finally took its toll on me and I just got it strained and hopefully I can be back in two weeks.”
The White Sox have to hope Crain can get back on the field soon. The market for available relief pitchers is very thin and Crain represented one of, if not, the best options.
Were Crain to come off the DL after 15 days he should have plenty of time to prove he’s healthy. But with the way this season has gone, the White Sox should probably remain skeptical.
“You can’t explain baseball,” Crain said. “That’s why things on paper are always totally different than how they play out. You’ve got to go through injuries and flukey things that happen in this sport. Obviously with me and Paulie going on the DL on the same day, on top of everything that has happened this year, it’s obviously not what we’re hoping for. But that’s the life of a team and you’ve got to keep working through things and deal with the punches as they come.”