CHICAGO -- There's little doubt general manager Ken Williams would like to dub this recent 9-2 stretch as a sign of good things to come for his White Sox.
And Williams certainly has the urge to point to the South Siders' push above.500 and label the upward move as a turning point for this underachieving squad.
Here's the only problem: Williams just can't make that statement in good faith.
"I'm not going to tell you something that I don't believe," said Williams, sitting in the White Sox dugout prior to Tuesday's series opener with the Indians. "I don't have a good feel after we sit here after 120 games. And it's just been inconsistent play.
"Again, if we start to click, even just a little bit, we can put together a heck of a run. But the fact of the matter is we haven't, so I can't assume it's going to happen.
"All I can expect is the effort to be there every day and the intensity to be there every day. We've got 42 games left. It's not hard to keep your intensity level up with 42 games. That's what I expect and hopefully we can get on a roll and some guys can get some confidence back maybe that they haven't had thus far."
Williams said his optimism level remains high going into every game.
"I only get surprised at the end of the game where it's, again, we haven't supported our pitching staff," Williams said. "That's my surprise is I keep waiting for it to come, waiting it for it to happen.
"The fact is we are 120 games in and haven't."
Don't look for a veteran presence to be added behind the plate through the waiver wire, providing assistance to Tyler Flowers and Donny Lucy while A.J. Pierzynski is sidelined with a fractured left wrist. In fact, don't look for any addition to a team currently sitting on a franchise-record $127 million payroll and without the corresponding support, according to Williams.
"I've made no secret about it for quite a while that we are limited from a payroll standpoint at this point in time," Williams said. "We haven't earned our fans' patronage enough to put us in that position and that's nobody's fault except our own fault.
"Anything that would come across right now, even if it were appealing from a talent standpoint, we are not in a position to be able to do it. Again, that's our fault. That's nobody's fault, except me, my staff and the people in uniform."
Konerko eager to return to field action
CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko had hoped his sore left calf/left knee would be in better condition by this point, considering he took a fastball in that area back during a game on July 31. Even with the pain still there, Konerko has hit in 12 straight games as the White Sox designated hitter and helped the team produce an 9-3 record over that stretch.
But don't look for designated hitter to be any sort of permanent spot for the talented White Sox first baseman.
"I want to get in the field as soon as I can, so I'm hoping to take grounders today and take the field tomorrow unless something else happens," Konerko said. "I don't know what to expect when I get out there because I haven't taken a ground ball since that day, two weeks ago, so we'll see what happens, and it's moving forward as far as it feels better than when we were in Baltimore or Minnesota."
The injured area has been looked at from "every angle," according to Konerko, and "it's fine."Konerkdo said the injury is so deep with the swelling, and is made worse because it surrounds a nerve.
"The more I pound on it, yeah, it hurts, but it gets weak quick, and that's the nerve shutting down, so it's a matter of just calming everything else around it," said Konerko.
"When you have a nerve hit like that, it's an area ... [it's a ] full three-week process, after the first 3-4 days the swelling kind of feels somewhat normal. So we're maybe 12 days into that process. It makes sense in that case. I just want to get back on the field. I'm not a fan of DH-ing."
Pitchers confident in backup catchers
CHICAGO -- While A.J. Pierzynski has been one of the White Sox hottest hitters of late, his primary role always has been to handle the team's top-flight pitching staff. But even with Pierzynski out of action because of a fractured left wrist, the White Sox don't seem overly concerned with their pitchers' survival during Pierzynski's absence.
"Obviously, I've been throwing to A.J. 99 percent of my starts, but it's one of those things that, at this point in the season, we have a pretty good idea of what we're trying to do," White Sox starter John Danks said. "Tyler [Flowers] and Donny [Lucy] are right there, they know.
"Having guys like A.J. stick around or [pitching coach Don Cooper] or [Mark] Buehrle, guys that know what we're trying to accomplish and how we're going to do it, will only help. I don't anticipate the pitching tanking because A.J. is out. We can pick up where we left off. It'll be different, but it won't be a huge difference."
General manager Ken Williams expressed the utmost confidence in Tyler Flowers' game calling and defense behind the plate.
Lucy expects comfortable transition
CHICAGO -- Donny Lucy was driving home just before midnight on Monday, following a doubleheader for Triple-A Charlotte, when he got the call from White Sox Minor League director Buddy Bell, who informed him that he was needed in Chicago. Lucy arrived around noon CT on Tuesday, marking his third big league stint with the White Sox.
"I know a lot of the guys here," Lucy said. "I know a lot of the pitchers, and then being in Spring Training all the way to the end, that definitely helps being more comfortable with the team. It's definitely nice. It's a more comfortable transition."
Third to first
General manager Ken Williams basically side-stepped a question about interest in Carlos Zambrano, if the Cubs could not work out their situation with the tempestuous right-hander. "I can only speak for ourselves and right now, as I sit here, I don't see a fit if that were to occur," Williams said. "But I'm not allowed to speak on it anyway." The White Sox signed eight of their top 10 picks in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. Keenyn Walker, the team's top selection in Comp Round A, is hitting .261 with 30 runs scored and 17 stolen bases between stops at Great Falls and Class A Kannapolis. Paul Konerko sits just seven hits away from 2,000 for his career. Juan Pierre recorded his first homer since June 3 against Detroit during Tuesday's 8-7 victory over Cleveland in 14 innings. Chris Sale allowed his first career homer to a lefty when Travis Hafner took him deep to lead off the eighth on Tuesday.