Notes: Konerko waits for hits to fall
Sunday's starter undecided; weather alters ticketing
CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko carried a .194 batting average into Wednesday's split doubleheader against the Yankees, a number almost 90 points below his career mark of .281. The White Sox captain clearly is not getting desired results at the plate, but at the same time, he doesn't feel lost with the bat.
As Konerko explained, a discrepancy needs to be made between a prolonged slump and offensive futility.
"There is a difference between struggling and struggling to get hits," Konerko said. "It's hard to explain if you don't play the game or haven't been involved right in there. There's a difference between being lost and struggling to find something when things just aren't going your way.
"I think I'm the latter. I don't want to speak for other guys in here, but I think most of them also are the latter."
With a .220 team average and a .299 on-base percentage, both ranking last in the American League, the White Sox offensive woes have been a daily topic of conversation. Manager Ozzie Guillen's pregame chat with the media before Wednesday's opener was no exception.
Guillen reiterated that the blame for the struggles doesn't fall on hitting coach Greg Walker, because in reality, Guillen believes veterans who have hit previously in their career truly don't need coaches. As Guillen pointed out, they need someone to throw them batting practice and get them ready.
"That's my opinion," Guillen said. "They have a lot of years in the big leagues. They should know what's going on. I want them to get hits, because if they don't get hits, we're not going to win games."
The mental state of these slumping players is more a concern for Guillen than their production shortcomings, as he doesn't want to see any long faces or players waiting for someone else to pick them up. Guillen mentioned a talk with Konerko from a few weeks ago, when Konerko looked a bit worried, in which he stressed to forget about any 0-for-4 outings and just continue working hard.
A solid work ethic certainly is not the issue for a true professional such as Konerko. In Konerko's mind, it's still just a matter of time before the baseballs start falling.
"I've been in different places when you are not producing," said Konerko, who backed up his comments with a home run in his second at-bat during the White Sox victory in Game 1. "Right now, I'm dangerous. I feel like if I get a ball to hit, I'm going to hit it hard. It's just a matter of it happening. There's nothing more you can do.
"Just keep doing the same thing and it will come," Konerko added.
Rotation alteration: Even after throwing 88 pitches in Game 1 of Wednesday's split doubleheader with the Yankees and working 6 1/3 innings, rookie John Danks still was lobbying to come back and pitch on three days' rest in Sunday's series finale against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
"I'd love to. I want to pitch in that series," said Danks, who joked that he might slip a note to Guillen or pitching coach Don Cooper, reminding them he can work sooner than later. "But I don't make the final decision. I'll just pitch whenever they hand me the ball and we'll go from there."
Sunday's starter has been debated from various angles over the past 24 hours, starting when Tuesday's game officially was cancelled. Guillen has all but ruled out Jose Contreras working on short rest, and after Wednesday's 5-3 victory in Game 1, Guillen basically stated that Danks should stay on his regular turn.
With those opinions in mind, along with Guillen's liberal usage of his bullpen basically eliminating Nick Masset from a spot start, the logical solution seems to be a one-day callup from the Minors. Both Gavin Floyd, who started Tuesday for Triple-A Charlotte, and Gio Gonzalez, who started Monday for Double-A Birmingham, are on turn to work the Cubs finale. Gonzalez's one-day addition would cause a move to be made on the 40-man roster, but Floyd worked Tuesday on a pitch count as he made his first start after being sidelined by blister issues.
A possible callup doesn't have to come from Charlotte, according to Guillen, as there's no Minor League pecking order in his mind.
"If you're a rookie guy and throwing well, we'll call you up to win one game," Guillen said. "The difference is how mentally you're prepared for the game.
"This is the big leagues and a big difference from facing kids. But you're not going to change your approach. I would rather have somebody out here than pitch someone the wrong way. But we are going to sit down with Coop and Kenny [Williams, GM] and see what they think."
Weather-related bonus: Fans who sat through Tuesday's almost two-hour rain delay and hold a ticket to that particular contest are getting a special reward from the White Sox. Those individuals not only could attend the makeup contest, but in addition, fans can exchange their tickets for a complimentary upper-level seat to any of the team's next 13 premier games (based on availability).
Those games included Wednesday's night game against the Yankees; Thursday's game against the Yankees at 1:05 p.m. CT; the Yankees series from June 4-7; the Twins series from July 6-8; and the Tigers series from July 23-26. Fans can do the exchange at the U.S. Cellular box office or by mail.
Around the horn: Prior to Wednesday's afternoon contest, Guillen had not yet received a report on the first game of Jim Thome's rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte Tuesday night. Thome, who has a target date of Monday for his return to the White Sox, finished 0-for-4 with a walk in Charlotte's 15-2 shellacking of Columbus. "He should be here for the A's," said Guillen of Thome. "The question is Toby Hall. In the next couple of days, we'll try to find out exactly what his schedule is." ... Alex Cintron was reinstated from the Bereavement List before Wednesday night's game, with Andy Gonzalez returning to Charlotte. Cintron returned to Puerto Rico after his grandfather passed away. ... The last split doubleheader for the White Sox occurred on July 12, 2003, at Cleveland. The White Sox won the first game, 7-4, in 10 innings, but lost the nightcap, 4-2. Current White Sox broadcasters Darrin Jackson and Chris Singleton combined to go 1-for-7 in the last doubleheader against the Yankees in 1999. ... ESPN has picked up the White Sox-Phillies game on June 11 at Citizens Bank Park. Game time is set for 6:05 p.m. CT, and the contest will be shown locally on Comcast SportsNet.
Down on the farm: Ernie Young homered and drove in four runs during Charlotte's 13-run victory at Columbus on Tuesday. Casey Rogowski added three hits and two RBIs, while Shaun Babula threw four hitless innings of relief. ... Micah Schnurstein knocked out his 20th double and picked up his 28th RBI as part of Class A Winston-Salem's 4-3 victory over Salem in 10 innings. Aaron Cunningham added his fifth home run.
On deck: Following Wednesday's split doubleheader, Jon Garland (2-2, 3.44) is scheduled to make his eighth start of the season and fifth at home Thursday afternoon. Garland has made five quality starts, including his last four starts.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.