PHILADELPHIA -- If there were a game tomorrow, Paul Konerko would undoubtedly be in the lineup.
But the White Sox slugger has the misfortune of finally finding his back healthy enough to play on the precipice of the All-Star break. So while he has passed the tests and is ready to go, Konerko won’t play in a game until he joins Double-A Birmingham on Thursday for a rehab assignment.
Konerko said Sunday he expects to play at Birmingham all weekend and has his sights set on a return to the White Sox next Monday. The first baseman has been on the disabled list since July 3 with a lower back strain.
“We definitely want to play days in a row and see how it responds and also for the baseball side of it, to get some at-bats, to see some pitches because I’ve been out for a while now,” Konerko said.
Unlike the first time he tried to return from his sore back, Konerko rested until he made sure he was thoroughly healed.
Though he previously felt he had given the injury enough time when he played on July 2 after an eight-day layoff, Konerko set himself back to square one. This time around, Konerko rested for six full days and didn’t swing a bat until Thursday, nine days into the process. He took batting practice on Saturday and worked on the field and feels good enough to go out on assignment.
“If we could back in time we would have done this right from the get-go and then took the time the first day I came in,” Konerko said. “Hindsight is 20/20, we would have done that from the beginning if I had to do it over again. I’ve had my rest. I want to play.”
Beckham out of lineup
Gordon Beckham isn’t in the lineup on Sunday after he collided with right fielder Casper Wells on a foul ball late in Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader. Though Beckham stayed in the game, he didn’t return to the field for the 13th inning with what has been described a right leg contusion.
Manager Robin Ventura described it as a charley horse and said Beckham is most likely unavailable for Sunday’s game. Beckham played in all but one half of 23 innings in Saturday’s doubleheader.
“It’s just a bruise, it’s just a deep one,” Ventura said. “I highly doubt he would get in there today. You never know into the game or something like that, but as of right now he really doesn’t have a chance of playing.”
After Game 2, Philadelphia Phillies infielder Michael Young told reporters it had been such a long, hot day --- each game was in played in 3 hours, 53 minutes and that doesn’t include a 41-minute rain delay in Game 1 --- he had begun to hallucinate on the field. Young ended Game 2 with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the 13th to end the 24-inning marathon.
White Sox first baseman Adam Dunn said he’s not surprised to hear Young’s comments.
“I mean last night was warm,” Dunn said. “But I don’t know how Johnny (Danks) got through the first one. I’m sure I’ve played in warmer, but I mean that was as bad as it gets.”
-- Jesse Crain’s condition hasn’t worsened but Ventura said the reliever still isn’t ready to cut loose. Crain has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 3 with a right shoulder strain.
“It’s not anything that’s getting worse, but he’s a little tentative to let it loose,” Ventura said. “It’s nothing that hurts or anything like that. It’s still on pace. We want him to throw and see how it feels. But it’s definitely progressing and getting better.”
-- Ventura said the team’s second-half rotation hasn’t yet been determined. He knows Sunday’s starter Jose Quintana won’t pitch the second-half opener on Friday in order to give him extra rest. He also is waiting to see how Chris Sale is used in Tuesday’s All-Star Game. And, Jake Peavy, who pitches in a rehab start Sunday at Double-A Birmingham could figure into the mix.