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04/29/12 7:12 PM ET

Struggling Morel, Beckham get mental break

CHICAGO -- The finale of the four-game set with Boston featured Eduardo Escobar at second base hitting ninth and Brent Lillibridge at third base hitting second. Manager Robin Ventura's lineup moves were designed to get at-bats for these bench players but also to give the slumping starting tandem of Gordon Beckham and Brent Morel a mental break.

Beckham has a .153 average with 16 strikeouts, three doubles and two RBIs. Morel is hitting .178 with 26 strikeouts, two doubles and three RBIs.

"A lot of it just becomes mental. It mounts up on them," said Ventura of Morel and Beckham. "These are just little mental breaks, giving them this day and the day off [Monday] and then be back at it."

Morel has shown signs of shaking off the early doldrums with nine hits in 34 at-bats over his last nine games, while Beckham is 6-for-30 in his last nine contests. Ventura has stood strong in the corner of his struggling players, and the same can be said for his support of left fielder Dayan Viciedo.

It's still the quality of at-bats, more than the results, helping Ventura make his day-to-day decisions. To that end, Ventura pointed out a 10-pitch at-bat Beckham had against Jon Lester with runners on first and third and two outs in the seventh inning of Saturday's 1-0 loss.

"That was a good at-bat. He just didn't get a hit," said Ventura of Beckham's inning-ending groundout. "But he grinded it out and the competitiveness was there. He competed that at-bat.

"Eventually it's about numbers and everything else. But again, you are looking at how they are going about their at-bats and where we are at. We'll see how today goes and look at it Tuesday."

Konerko pulled from lineup with stiff neck

CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko was scratched from Sunday's starting lineup because of stiffness in his neck.

The move was more of a precautionary measure, giving the White Sox captain a two-day break with Monday's scheduled off-day.

"He's had the stiff neck the last couple of days, but he played through it," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "I don't think he did it playing.

"But he had it last night for sure, maybe a little the night before. We are just making sure nothing lasts any longer."

Konerko, who also has played with a sore right foot after fouling a ball off of that area, leads the American League with 12 multihit games. He entered Sunday ranked second with a 1.123 OPS and a .679 slugging percentage, while checking in fifth with a .383 average.

Dayan Viciedo was moved from left field to designated hitter in Konerko's absence, with Konerko originally scheduled to start at DH. Kosuke Fukudome was inserted in the lineup in left field.

Viciedo not sweating slow offensive start

CHICAGO -- Before the 2012 regular season even began, Dayan Viciedo prepared himself for a slow April start.

It had happened before to Viciedo with Triple-A Charlotte. So the .206 average, three homers and four RBIs that Viciedo carried out of Sunday's 4-1 victory over the Red Sox, during which he knocked out two hits and drove in a run, hadn't shaken the left fielder.

"You know, there's nothing I can put my finger on," said Viciedo, through translator and White Sox director of cultural development Jackson Miranda. "But starting off, I already had that in my mind because I've kind of been there, done that. From there, I just kind of want to build.

"If I'm not hitting at the plate, I'm happy I'm doing it on the field. So, it's one of those things that all and all, I have some things to look good at in the sense, to feel good about. So my confidence is still there and hasn't changed."

Viciedo has looked increasingly more comfortable in left field, making a nice running catch where he had to go into the stands during Saturday's 1-0 loss to the Red Sox. Much was made of Viciedo replacing Carlos Quentin in the lineup, not in the field, but the would-be slugger doesn't spend much time thinking of such a comparison.

"I didn't buy into that," said Viciedo of the Quentin talk. "It's one of those things that I was brought here to do my job and that's what I'm doing.

"As of right now, for the first month of the season, I already have three home runs, so I feel good about that especially with so many more games left. I just have to work on some other things with kind of getting my swing going."

Third to first

• Matt Thornton retired the final four hitters in Sunday's 4-1 victory over Boston, striking out two and lowering his ERA to 0.82. The southpaw picked up his first save since last July 2 but has not taken over the closer's role from Hector Santiago.

"I did what they asked me to do," said Thornton, who was told by pitching coach Don Cooper to go back out for the ninth after striking out pinch-hitter Darnell McDonald to end the eighth. "That's what I'll do all the time."

Manager Robin Ventura liked having a pitcher facing Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz in the ninth with a previous body of work against the Boston trio.

"It's nothing against Hector; he'll still be in there in the ninth," said Ventura of Santiago, who has not pitched since Wednesday's blown save. "I felt confident with Matt in there."

• Addison Reed made his 10th straight scoreless appearance during Sunday's victory. Reed's streak to start the season is the franchise's third longest for a rookie reliever, trailing Sergio Santos' record of 12 from 2010.

• Brent Lillibridge has six stolen bases and four hits through the first 22 games of the season.

• Adam Dunn homered at U.S. Cellular Field for the first time since Aug. 4, 2011, vs. the Yankees.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.