Sox need break after another tough loss in dismal year
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org July 14, 2013 8:27PM
Updated: July 14, 2013 11:16PM
PHILADELPHIA — Man, do the White Sox need this.
A little beat up physically, a little worn out mentally and dealing with serious cases of wounded pride, they go into the All-Star break longing for some serious getaway time.
With the non-waiver July 31 trade deadline drawing closer, some are also worried about how much longer they’ll be around.
There was no doubt about where they are after a 4-3 loss Sunday to the Phillies in 10 innings on John Mayberry’s bases-loaded single against Ramon Troncoso. In last place in the American League Central with a 37-55 record. This for a team that general manager Rick Hahn and manager Robin Ventura said was good enough to compete for the postseason coming out of spring training.
“Not good,’’ was Ventura’s accurate and succinct assessment of his team’s play before the break. “Obviously, the record is not what we want. It’s nothing about effort. A couple of guys are in some funks, and that’s what happens. It becomes a team funk.”
As if their fans who were watching needed a reminder that they need a break from the funk as well, Alejandro De Aza provided it by getting doubled off second base on Alex Rios’ soft liner behind the bag. It was the eighth out De Aza, the leadoff man, has made on the bases. De Aza also hit his 12th homer.
Team captain Paul Konerko, who will begin a rehab assignment Thursday with Class AA Birmingham, said the Sox are trying — evidenced by their thwarted late comeback Sunday — and he’ll pitch in soon. His lower back feels well enough that he could’ve started the rehab assignment Sunday or Monday, but the minor-leaguers are on break, too. He expects to miss this weekend’s series against the Braves at U.S. Cellular Field coming out of the break.
“I’ve done everything I can do; it’s time to get back on the field,’’ Konerko said. “But I’ve been out too long to just jump back out on Friday night. I have to go play a few games to find out that it’s ready and see a few pitches.’’
There are unknowns surrounding the team and, in particular, Konerko, an all-time Sox great who is in the last year of a three-year contract and possibly playing his last season. His back problem has pretty much distanced him from the trade-rumor mill that has included numerous teammates.
“We don’t know what moves they are going to make,’’ Konerko said. “They traded [Matt Thornton] already, and there’s a chance that there are more guys that can go. The theme is whoever is here today, you go out there and play hard. Like the guys who played yesterday, they played their heart out both of those games. That’s really it.’’
Konerko, 37, has been limited to 67 games and 253 at-bats and is batting .249 with seven home runs, nine doubles and 30 RBI.
“I wish we were up 10 games in first,’’ he said. “But it’s just not the case. As a professional, you have that integrity that no matter what the standings are, you are going to play that game hard that day as far as who’s going to be here. We don’t know how that’s going to shake out. We don’t know who they want to move and who they don’t want to move and how all that’s going to happen. We have to deal with what’s here, and I think guys will do that. We have guys here that won’t let that be too much of a distraction.’’
It’s time for a break. That was unanimous throughout the clubhouse.
“Yeah, these will be a good four days for these guys,” Ventura said. “Just go home and do whatever they are going to do, then come back ready to go. The record speaks for itself. Nobody is happy, and you can go home and clear your mind and get ready to go.”