CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko had hoped to be back at first base for the White Sox on Wednesday, after taking grounders on Tuesday. But factoring in the wear and tear endured during Tuesday's 14-inning victory, the White Sox captain returned to the designated hitter's spot.
"It felt pretty good for the most part. I can do what I can do," said Konerko of taking grounders during Tuesday's batting practice. "It just gets a little weak. It gets me a little quicker than I wanted."
Konerko, who went 4-for-6 on Tuesday, certainly has not been affected offensively by his sore left calf/knee, suffered on July 31 when hit by a pitch, as he has a .388 average over his last 13 games, with a 12-game hitting streak ending in Wednesday's 4-1 loss to Cleveland. The pain is not felt by Konerko at the plate, but he still would like to get back in the field as soon as possible, maybe by Thursday's series finale.
"I'm not ruling out anything," Konerko said. "I prefer to be over there, because I prefer playing the game over there and not just DH-ing, and I've taken 3 billion swings in the last week because you have to stay loose and it wears on you more. But as far as us winning, the team functioning well as a team, it's really not as big of a deal."
Thornton confident in stuff, game plan
CHICAGO -- The raw 2011 statistics aren't as overpowering for Matt Thornton as they were during his All-Star effort of 2010.
But according to the hard-throwing left-hander, those numbers don't tell the full story of his current campaign.
"Luck just hasn't been on my side this year," said Thornton, who entered Wednesday's contest with a solid 3.53 ERA and a .281 average against. "I feel like I've thrown the ball pretty well all season long. The ball hasn't been bouncing my way.
"Some hits have gone off of gloves or just barely out of the reach of defenders, and a lot of broken bats. So, I just continue to believe in myself and going after guys and making them put the ball in play."
Thornton, 34, worked two scoreless innings during Tuesday's 8-7 victory over the Indians in 14 innings, meaning five of his last six appearances have been scoreless. He struggled out of the gate as the team's closer, with some of that bad luck he talked about factoring in. The 12 unearned runs he has allowed leave Thornton tied for third-most among American League pitchers.
There won't be a .191 average against like 2010 or the 81 strikeouts recorded in 60 2/3 innings. He still has been a productive part of the White Sox bullpen, working with Chris Sale and Jesse Crain in getting the ball to Sergio Santos.
That strikeout dip doesn't seem to bother Thornton, whose average fastball velocity is just a tick down from last season but nothing significant.
"I absolutely feel I have as good if not better stuff," Thornton said. "I've continued to go after guys. I've added a cutter to my repertoire, and I've been working on a changeup I haven't broken out yet because of the situation I'm pitching in.
"It's one of those things where I feel like I'm in a pretty good place right now. My velocity is there, my stuff is there. I'm looking for getting those quick outs, like yesterday. It's just a matter of keep on believing in everything I worked for the in the offseason, during the season and Spring Training and going after guys."
Stewart to get opportunities out of 'pen
CHICAGO -- Rookie Zach Stewart has been pushed to the bullpen for the rest of this homestand, a move definitely needed after the relief crew was taxed during Tuesday's 8-7 victory over the Indians in 14 innings.Stewart pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings in Wednesday's 4-1 loss to the Indians, recording five strikeouts.
"I really don't know where that came from," said a smiling Stewart.With two off-days next week during a road trip to Anaheim and Seattle, there's a good chance Stewart might be working in long relief until the White Sox get to September and face doubleheaders against the Twins and Indians.
"I was happy yesterday that we had a five-man rotation, because, all of a sudden, I look up and I had two bullets left in the bullpen, and one bullet could throw three or four innings and it was [Stewart]," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "That's why it's very important to have a guy that can pitch innings, and not just innings but quality innings. I think this guy can do that."
"Stewart's need is in the bullpen as we speak, today through Sunday," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "I just don't see him starting right away. What I do see is him getting plenty more opportunities to pitch, plenty more opportunities to help us."
Beckham's mental error disturbs Ozzie
CHICAGO -- In looking back at Tuesday's 8-7 victory for the White Sox in 14 innings over the Indians, the biggest play might have been second baseman Gordon Beckham's bobble of Shin-Soo Choo's ground ball with one out and runners on first and third in the ninth.Beckham was ready to try to nail the fleet-footed Ezequiel Carrera at home to keep the tying run from scoring, but his bobble forced him to go to second to get the fielder's choice on Michael Brantley.
Carrera certainly would have beaten even a perfect throw home, possibly leading to a big inning against closer Sergio Santos. Manager Ozzie Guillen was bothered by Beckham's decision, only because he considered it a mental error and not a physical one.
"Mental errors are a no-no," Guillen said. "But when you're not thinking before the ball is hit to you, that's kind of like, 'Wow, what are we thinking here?' I know what he was thinking, 'Slow ground ball, I've got a chance to throw the guy at the plate.'
"But he forgot the guy at third base is the fastest runner they have. It was a little collapse on that particular play. We got lucky enough that he was able to catch the ball back and throw it to second base and keep him off there. It could have been worse. You just have to be prepared a little bit better about that situation."
Third to first
With Wednesday's defeat, Mark Buehrle lost at home for the first time since April 17 against the Angels. He is 5-2 with a 2.55 ERA over 12 starts at home. White Sox pitchers have a 6.09 ERA over their last 11 home games. The White Sox are 7-2 in their last nine against the American League Central.