MLB Team Report - Chicago White Sox - INSIDE PITCH


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Paul Konerko returned to the Chicago White Sox starting lineup Friday night at Tropicana Field, and he intends to spend as much time as possible on the field before calling it a career next weekend.

Konerko, who will retire at the end of the season, was back in Chicago's lineup and playing first base Friday for the first time since Sept. 2, having missed 14 games due to a sesamoid fracture in his left hand. He said he can still feel the break "a little bit, but I think it's more than ready to go give it a try."

White Sox manager Robin Ventura asked Konerko if he was ready to play Friday night, and the veteran slugger said he would play first base.

"He asked me what I thought, and I felt like maybe the best way to kind of kick-start me back in there is just get into the game and get it going," Konerko said.

Konerko admitted he was concerned the injury might have brought a premature end to his final season.

"I feel like I've come a long way, because I was really nervous -- not that I wouldn't get back out there, but that it would just be for show the last weekend," Konerko said. "I can still press on it and get to it and make it hurt if I want, but it doesn't feel like it's doing much when I swing and all that, so that's good.

"I would've gone out there in some capacity. I don't care if it would've been taking three of the ugliest swings you've ever seen and strike out. I mean, I wasn't gonna end it on the bench."

Chicago's lineup over the team's last nine games is in Ventura's hands, but Konerko hopes to be on the field for as much of his final week as possible.

"As many as I can. There's nothing really to save it for. I'd like to get some at-bats," Konerko said. "Knock on wood, nothing happens in the next handful of games until we get there. But I think any player would go out there and end it on the field."

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MLB Team Report - Chicago White Sox - NOTES, QUOTES


RECORD: 69-83

STREAK: Lost one

NEXT: White Sox (RHP Hector Noesi, 8-9, 4.38) at Rays (RHP Chris Archer, 9-8, 3.54)

PLAYER NOTES:

--LHP Jose Quintana is 3-0 with a 1.65 ERA and 29 strikeouts to four walks over his last four starts, all of them quality outings. He was 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA in his previous four starts from Aug. 8-26. He has allowed three earned runs or fewer 25 times this season, the most such starts on the White Sox staff and fifth-most in the American League. He did it again Friday, allowing three runs (one earned) over 7 1/3 innings in a win over the Rays. It was the seventh time he's gone seven innings or more and allowed one earned run or fewer, and he is 4-0 in those starts with the Sox going 5-2.

--1B Jose Abreu went 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI in Friday night's 4-3 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field. It was Abreu's 104th RBI, the third most ever by a White Sox rookie behind Smead Jolley (114 in 1930) and Zeke Bonura (110 in 1934). His RBI single in the fifth inning gave him 12 RBIs in five games against the Rays this season. He needs one more homer to establish a White Sox single-season record for rookies.

--OF Avisail Garcia hit a two-run, go-ahead double in the fifth inning of the White Sox's 4-3 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field on Friday. That capped Chicago's four-run inning. Friday was Garcia's first multi-RBI game on the road since April 8 at Colorado, when he drove in three runs. He entered the night hitting .298 with three doubles, a homer and nine RBIs in his last 15 games but just .250 in 29 games since being reinstated from the disabled list on Aug. 16.