07/06/2003 1:11 PM ET
Notes: Juggling the reserves
Konerko back in the lineup Sunday against the Rays
ST. PETERSBURG -- Paul Konerko made his return to the lineup Sunday, making his first appearance since he crushed a pinch-hit home run to tie the game in the 11th inning Wednesday. Brian Daubach and Frank Thomas played first base in the first two games of the series against Tampa Bay, but Konerko got the call Sunday, batting sixth.
By Anthony Gagliano / MLB.com
"I'm the same as everyone else," Konerko said. "I just need to get some rhythm. The only way to work some things out is to be in there, but I'm just trying to work as hard as I can to keep those good feelings I have."
The good feelings were few and far between for Konerko in June. The 27-year-old batted .098 last month, a big reason why that pinch-hit has been his only playing time in the past six games. His .189 average and four home runs this season are drastic departures from 2002, when Konerko hit .304 and drove in 104 runs, both career highs.
"You're constantly tinkering with things even when you're going well," Konerko said. "From at-bat to at-bat, you have good feelings and bad feelings, and those good ones, you're constantly trying to hold onto them and keep that same approach."
Daubach's recent success has had a role in Konerko's limited action. Daubach is hitting .429 in his past four games and homered in three straight games earlier this week.
The reinforcements: Another reason Konerko had been out of the lineup lately is the Sox's added depth since acquiring veterans Roberto Alomar and Carl Everett in trades on Wednesday. The moves have also limited playing time for reserves Willie Harris and Aaron Rowand. But manager Jerry Manuel inserted Harris in center field Saturday, and Rowand replaced Harris in that spot on Sunday.
"It gives us a lot of flexibility, but the thing is those are young guys that really aren't accustomed to sitting a couple of days, playing, sitting a day and then playing again," Manuel said. "The seasoned guys are probably a little more used to it."
Harris, 25, made the most of his opportunity on Saturday, going 2-for-4, sandwiched between Alomar and Frank Thomas. Harris owns a three-game hitting streak, batting 5-for-12 in that span.
Rowand has a streak of his own going, swinging at a .300 clip in his past five games. Rowand is hitting .219 in 96 at-bats this season, but since being recalled from Charlotte on June 10, the 25-year-old is batting .361 and all three of his home runs have come in the past 11 games. He had the game-tying two-run shot off Antonio Alfonseca on June 28 and then connected again the next day.
"I have to find time for Harris, I have to find time for Rowand and I definitely have to find time for Konerko," Manuel said. "I have to get quality at-bats for them."
Rowand hit .258 in 302 at-bats last season, and Harris batted .233 in his first year with the White Sox.
Jimenez traded: Second baseman D'Angelo Jimenez was traded to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday in exchange for minor league pitcher Scott Dunn, a righty.
Jimenez hit .255, with seven homers and 27 RBIs, in 73 games with the Sox this season, before he was designated for assigment July 1.
"He's a solid player," Frank Thomas said of Jimenez. "He'll do well in Cincinnati. I wish he was still here because he did get a lot of big hits for us the first half. I wish him the best because he deserves to be in the big leagues."
Down on the farm: The Barons' offense pounded out 18 hits and Enemencio Pacheco continued his mastery of Jacksonville as Birmingham won, 7-2, Saturday.
Guillermo Reyes had the biggest day, going 4-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, and Jeremy Reed kept up his eye-popping pace. Reed has hits in 13 straight games and 15 of the 16 games since his promotion to Double-A. Reed's four hits Saturday upped his average to .500 (32-for-64).
Meanwhile, Pacheco improved to 3-0 against Jacksonville this season. Pacheco's seven innings of one-run ball allowed the Barons to move back to .500 (41-41), and the 24-year-old right-hander struck out a season-high eight.
Buffalo pounded Triple-A Charlotte, 16-6, but Ryan Hankins was a bright spot for the Knights. The first baseman was a triple shy of the cycle and tallied half of his team's runs. The home run was Hankins' fourth of the season.
Brian Becker's three-home run in the seventh pushed Winston-Salem into the lead Saturday, and relievers Julio Castro and Josh Field kept the Warthogs there for a 7-6 victory. Becker's blast helped wipe away a 6-3 deficit entering the seventh. Castro earned the win, and Field's perfect ninth earned him his seventh save.
Anthony Gagliano is an intern for MLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.