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Robin Ventura: Sox must stay focused during uncertain times

CHICAGO IL - JULY 20: Alex Rios #51 Chicago White Sox scores home as Evan Gattis #24 AtlantBraves stands nearby

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 20: Alex Rios #51 of the Chicago White Sox scores at home as Evan Gattis #24 of the Atlanta Braves stands nearby on July 20, 2013 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

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Updated: August 22, 2013 7:06AM

Trade rumors will surround the White Sox in the last 11 days of this month, making it more important for players to maintain their game focus, manager Robin Ventura said.

“It’s not always easy when rumors are there, but again, to be professional you have to come and play and win a game,’’ he said.

“This game goes on [the pitcher’s record] and there is an accountability you have to teammates to do what you can to win that game, because it stays with everybody forever. These numbers are forever and they go on your name.”

Ventura remembers playing on teams that were out of contention early in the second half, but he said the Sox “have better players than the teams I was on.

“When we get through this [July] we will be better off just because of the rumors and everything else,’’ he said. “July has been difficult for that reason. Eventually we’ll get [focus] back.’’

RISP-y business

The Sox have hit .292 (107-for-367) with runners in scoring position since June 1, the second highest mark in the American League. But their record is only 14-28 since June 1.

Of those 42 games, 25 were decided by two or fewer runs. The Sox went 7-18 in those games.

Captain’s return?

Paul Konerko was 0-for-4 as the DH in his second rehab game with Class AA Birmingham. He was scheduled to play Saturday night and again Sunday and could return Monday.

“I hope so,’’ Ventura said.

Konerko has been out since
July 3 with a lower-back strain.


Braves starter Paul Maholm left Saturday’s game in the fourth inning with a sprained left wrist.

◆ Jake Peavy’s return to the rotation means Dylan Axelrod will go to the bullpen.

◆ Rookie Josh Phegley had single-game highs in hits (3) and extra-base hits with two doubles.

◆ Alejandro De Aza matched his career high with four hits.

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