Paul Konerko’s back has shown some improvement, but the White Sox slugger won’t return to action at the earliest until Sunday.
The first baseman/designated hitter said Friday he had six injections and an MRI taken for pain in his lower right back. Whereas Konerko has dealt with minor back pain this season, this episode, the worst he has had since 2006, caught him by surprise. Konerko -- who is hitting .253 with seven homers and 30 RBIs -- has missed two games and even though manager Robin Ventura hopes to have him available as a pinch-hitter for Friday’s doubleheader or Saturday the possibility seems remote.
“Got up Monday morning and couldn't even erect myself, standing up tall for most of the day,” Konerko said. “The three days after that were pretty much the same. Just a lot of soreness, no stability, no ability to really move. Really, really bound up. Just kind of came out of nowhere. Felt a little improvement Thursday and more today, but not enough where I can play tonight. These injections I actually kind of had them back in '06 when I had a little bit of a back problem then and they seemed to help out then.”
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Konerko hopes to get in the batting cage on Saturday and test out his back. If all goes well, he thinks the likelihood of a Sunday return is high because it would give him the opportunity to rest on Monday, when the White Sox are off. But he also admits Saturday could play a big part in whether or not he needs to be placed on the 15-day disabled list.
“If I couldn’t do it I don’t want to hold them up,” Konerko said. “I don’t want to be holding the team hostage with one less guy, but we’ll see. I haven’t tested it really at all. But I’ll be honest with them and let them really know. If that’s what needs to be done, that’s what needs to be done, but I don’t want to do that. I want to try and stay away from that.”
Wise tests oblique
Dewayne Wise was ready to give his strained right oblique a test run on Friday. Wise has been on the disabled list all month, first with a hamstring injury followed by the oblique. Wise said Friday that trainer Herm Schneider doesn’t think the oblique injury is as serious as a pull and he has been given permission to try it out in the cage. If all goes well, Wise could be headed back to Triple-A Charlotte soon for another rehab assignment.
“Whenever I can turn on an inside pitch I'll probably go back down to Charlotte and play in a few rehab games,” Wise said. “That's where I'm at now. Just hitting the ball the other way and up the middle, it's not that bad. But once I try to crank it up a little bit and pull the ball, that's when it really bothers me. … I've never had an injury like this and it's frustrating because you can't really go out there and do everything you're capable of doing because it grabs you. Like I said, hitting, and sometimes coughing and sneezing will get you. But Herm doesn't think it's that bad, so that's where we're at.”
No answer for defensive woes
Last season the White Sox established a franchise record with a .988 fielding percentage. They committed 70 errors, fewest in the majors and allowed a total of 34 unearned runs to score.
Through 75 games, the White Sox have committed 55 errors and allowed 34 unearned runs.
While Ventura doesn’t expect his team to match last season’s effort, he at least believes they should come close to the standard and they haven’t.
“You are scratching your head to see how it got to this point,” Ventura said. “There has never been a day that we haven’t emphasized playing defense and playing it right. Sometimes it’s just … it doesn’t gel together the way you would like and we have to find a way to make that happen. We want it to happen today.”
-- Conor Gillaspie was reinstated off the paternity list on Friday. Brent Morel, who took Gillaspie’s spot, will remain with team through Friday as the 26th player on the roster. Both the White Sox and Cleveland Indians are granted an additional player on the roster for the doubleheader, per major league rules.
-- Minor league outfielder Courtney Hawkins is one of five finalists on a fan ballot to play for the U.S. Team in the All-Star Futures Game. Fans can vote for Hawkins through Whitesox.com until Sunday at 10:59 p.m. (CDT).