KANSAS CITY -- For the third time since joining the White Sox on Sept. 1, Dan Johnson was in the starting lineup Thursday night.
The veteran started the series finale against the Royals at designated hitter with Paul Konerko out of the lineup. In his previous seven games since being called up from Triple-A Charlotte, he went 5-for-11 with a double, an RBI, three walks and three runs scored.
Johnson knows a thing or two about a playoff chase. He was part of the thrilling festivities on the final day of the regular season last year as a member of the Rays. He hit a game-tying home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth against the Yankees. The Rays famously won the game on a walk-off home run by Evan Longoria in the bottom of the 12th inning to earn a spot in the playoffs.
Konerko gets a day off with minor back injury
KANSAS CITY -- Paul Konerko wasn't in the White Sox starting lineup Thursday night, and according to manager Robin Ventura, the first baseman is dealing with a minor back injury.
"I don't know if it's real bad, but it's enough that he needs a day," Ventura said. "It's been off and on. Lately, it's been happening a little more. It's a day just to rest and hopefully he'll be in there tomorrow."
Konerko had started every game since missing eight in mid-August with a concussion. Overall, he appeared in 132 of the team's 148 contests heading into Thursday's series finale against the Royals.
"You don't want to miss any games. I certainly don't want to miss any, but at the same time, you've got 13, 14, 15 games left. I think it would be a better thing if you're getting one and then playing from here on out than playing all of them and having it catch up with you," Konerko said.
Konerko said he was fine, but he did mention that, at this time of the season, everyone's feeling tired.
"It's kind of all equal. Everybody's kind of in the same boat," Konerko said. "You're just trying to pay attention a little bit more to your rest, and the thing is to get away from your routines. You try to do less, but sometimes if you come in and you don't work out or you don't do flips or batting practice, sometimes that actually backfires and you feel worse. Every player's different. For me, I like to go back and do a lot of hot tub, cold tub and all that stuff just to give me some life. But it's not easy. The schedule's probably the toughest thing about baseball in general. Getting through it is a big chunk of it."
Konerko's absence forced some jostling in the lineup. Kevin Youkilis hit sixth for the first time since joining the White Sox. He hadn't hit lower than fifth since coming to Chicago on June 24, and only five times has he batted lower than second. He did hit sixth 12 times this season while with the Red Sox, batting .268 in those games.
In addition, Dewayne Wise hit second, with Alex Rios and A.J. Pierzynski moving up to fourth and fifth, respectively.
Some mustaches disappear with loss
KANSAS CITY -- Wednesday night's loss did more than just wipe clean the White Sox five-game winning streak. It also wiped the hair off the upper lips of several players.
Multiple White Sox players sported mustaches in recent weeks, but as their winning streak came to a halt, some decided that it was time for a change in the facial hair department. No longer among the mustachioed are Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and Gordon Beckham.
"I think I'll survive," Konerko said. "Tired of getting ridiculed out there. My wife's happy that it's gone. And I look younger. Maybe there won't be as many old jokes because it's gone and I do look a little bit younger.
"Me and Dunn made a pact last Friday. We've been trying to get rid of them since Friday, but we kept winning games. So after last night's game, we finally said, 'Enough's enough.' We had to turn the page."
Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.