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White Sox’ Paul Konerko still sore, sitting after wrist operation

Sox right fielder Brent Lillibridge makes nice catch fly ball hit by Tigers’ Jhonny Peraltsecond inning Saturday.  |

Sox right fielder Brent Lillibridge makes a nice catch on a fly ball hit by the Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta in the second inning Saturday. | Charles Rex Arbogast~AP

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Updated: July 14, 2011 11:55PM

The White Sox’ bullpen gained a man Saturday with the return of right-hander Jesse Crain, who missed Friday’s game because of a family matter. But the offense was missing first baseman Paul Konerko for another day as he recovered from an operation Friday to remove bone fragments from his left wrist.

‘‘It’s sore from people pulling and grabbing and sticking needles in you,’’ Konerko said. ‘‘It should be better for the long run.’’

Manager Ozzie Guillen doesn’t expect Konerko to play today, either.

‘‘He’s sore,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘It’s not fair for him. It’s a day game, and he didn’t have much time to get ready.’’

Konerko’s absence gave Adam Dunn another start at first, and Carlos Quentin was the designated hitter. Brent Lillibridge again played right field.

Lillibridge has become more than just a backup player, Guillen said. He has a seven-game hitting streak and has come through with some game-saving diving catches.

‘‘He’s gotten big hits for us,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘Every time he comes up with the game on the line, he does some damage. I’m very impressed because I didn’t expect that from him. He’s the best outfielder we have.

‘‘It shows how dumb I must be because, for three years, we’ve had him in the infield. But we can use him in a lot of roles. He’s a very confident kid.’’

Primed to pitch

Jake Peavy starts today for the fifth time and the second at home after he pitched seven innings for a victory at Boston last week.

‘‘Peavy has helped the rest of the guys, too,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘The way he competes, he’s started a nice, healthy competition because nobody has to carry the load [alone].’’

Peavy is 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA since returning and is 6-3, 3.09 at U.S. Cellular Field in 11 career starts.

Temper tantrums

Alex Rios is not the demonstrative type, but his struggles at the plate showed Friday, when he swung his bat in frustration near the dugout after an out.

‘‘I talked to him about it,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘I don’t criticize my players for bad at-bats, but for bad body language. We talked about it in a nice way. I understand because I was a ballplayer. He was very upset because he didn’t do what he could to help us. But my responsibility is also body language. We promised each other it would be the last time it happens.’’

Physical displays of frustration, such as Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano breaking a bat over his knee Tuesday after an at-bat, can be directly harmful. Consider Quentin, who broke his wrist in early September 2008 when he slammed a bat. He missed the rest of the season and the playoffs.

‘‘We went through it with [Quentin],’’ Guillen said. ‘‘It’s not just Zambrano. It’s a lot of players. They don’t think about what you could do in one second. I don’t say it’s stupidity — it’s the passion.’’

Guillen admitted he was and still is the demonstrative type. He broke televisions and bathroom fixtures in his playing days and a coffee pot as recently as last week in Toronto.

‘‘I paid for [the damage], and I was out there playing the next day,’’ he said.

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