Konerko's knee showing little improvement
White Sox don't expect slugger to return on Tuesday
CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko was not in the White Sox starting lineup for Monday's series opener against the Yankees after being hit on the outside of his left knee by a 95-mph Andrew Miller fastball in Sunday's loss to the Red Sox.
The White Sox captain left Sunday's game in the top of the fifth inning after trying to run the bases when he was hit in the fourth. But with the pitch striking a nerve in the area, it took away the strength and the weight-bearing possibilities.
On Monday, Konerko termed his knee/calf injury as about the same as Sunday -- "real stiff, real sore."
"I never really have been hit where I got hit or as hard as I got hit -- it was pretty good," said Konerko, standing in front of his locker following White Sox batting practice. "It's really weak, really stiff. We're just trying to get as much treatment as we can throughout the day and hopefully get as much out of it.
"When you get hit in the hand or elbow, it feels the next day like you'll never use it again. That's how bad it feels. I've been down the road in other areas where you get hit, and it feels terrible and far away.
"But you just do the treatment and a lot of the stuff they have back there, and you'll get over that hump where you can start getting back to normal," Konerko added. "It's definitely painful. It got me in a good spot that makes it tough to even walk."
Getting hit flush on the calf would have been easier for Konerko in terms of recovery, but the Miller pitch got a lot of the bone.
"It feels more like a sprain rather than I got hit by something," Konerko said. "It just doesn't have much ability to bend or move around or bear weight -- that's probably the biggest thing. It's very weak. It's all normal for getting hit."
Manager Ozzie Guillen didn't expect Konerko to return for Tuesday's game. Konerko said that as of Monday, he couldn't imagine taking a swing, but he also pointed out that these sorts of injuries can change quickly.
Back in Seattle in early May, Konerko had a problem with his left wrist on a Friday but was back in the White Sox lineup by that Sunday. He pointed out on that Saturday, he probably felt a few days away.
"Hopefully, it's something like that," Konerko said. "You hope it's that and gets out of there quickly. It's my front leg, and you've got to move around the field, but that front leg, hitting-wise, and that front foot is going to be planted. You're going to torque everything you have against it.
"I'll know right away whether I can or cannot do something. If you know you can, you're off and running, even if there is some discomfort. You know once you can do it, the adrenaline gets you over that last hump, but you've got to get to that point first. Right now, I'm not at that [point]."
Walker knows White Sox bats must flip switch
CHICAGO -- White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker doesn't need to see his team's .227 average over its last 13 games and .173 average with runners in scoring position during that time to know the offense has to get moving before playoff chances all but disappear for the club.
"There's no doubt talent is in this clubhouse to win," Walker said. "Does that mean we are going to do it? We have a fight in front of us. We've not played good offensive baseball. This has been an underachieving group up until this point. Does that mean they are not trying? No, it does not mean that. We are fighting. We just haven't got it all together yet."
Walker pointed to a familiar refrain in that the White Sox entered play on Monday only four games back of first place in the American League Central without having played well for any prolonged stretch. But with the non-waiver Trade Deadline having coming and gone, Walker understands this is the group that has to produce.
"The battle is we've been trying this for three or four months now and haven't got it done," Walker said. "There's no given we will get hot. We have to keep battling -- don't give away one at-bat. Sometimes, you have to crawl before you walk and walk before you run. We are still crawling, barely walking right now. We have to pick it up.
"It could happen overnight, but it might just take a grind and winning some close games and build off that. Guys are working, putting in their time. We just have to get a spot where we start playing consistent offensive baseball, because [our] pitching has been nothing short of fantastic."
Sale putting difficult stretch in the past
CHICAGO -- Those early-season struggles seem to have disappeared for White Sox rookie southpaw reliever Chris Sale, who has a 1.08 ERA with 33 strikeouts over his last 33 1/3 innings. His ERA has dropped from 6.48 to 2.88 during that stretch of 24 games.
This current stretch is as good as Sale has felt since breaking in with the 2010 White Sox, posting a 1.93 ERA over 21 games.
"Absolutely -- I feel strong every time I get out there and feel confident in myself and my pitching ability," Sale said. "I have guys around me at the same time throwing the ball well, too. It makes it easy coming into a game and leaving a game when you have guys in front of you and behind you who are doing just as good if not better of a job."
Full crowd, even for opponent, thrills Ozzie
CHICAGO -- Many Red Sox fans made the trip to Chicago this past weekend to see their team in action at U.S. Cellular Field, and a number of Yankees followers figure to be in attendance over the next four days. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen isn't worried about that out-of-town support.
"As long as they pack the house, I don't care where they come from," Guillen said. "As long as there's 40,000 people here, I don't mind. I've coached in Montreal, played in Tampa and coached in Miami. If you want to see opposing fans in your ballpark, you go to those places and you'll see how bad it is.
"I like when people are in the ballpark. We've brought a lot of people to different places, too."
Third to first
The White Sox are 8-7 since the All-Star break and dropped to 24-29 at home by virtue of Monday's 3-2 loss to the Yankees.
After Monday's outing, Jake Peavy is 0-3 with a 3.71 ERA lifetime against the Yankees.
White Sox starters have a 2.46 ERA with 12 quality starts since the All-Star break.