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White Sox catcher Ramon Castro could be out for months

Jake Peavy (left) Omar Vizquel congratulate Alexei Ramirez after his walk-off single ninth. | Nam Y. Huh~AP

Jake Peavy (left) and Omar Vizquel congratulate Alexei Ramirez after his walk-off single in the ninth. | Nam Y. Huh~AP

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Updated: July 10, 2011 2:21AM

The White Sox could be without catcher Ramon Castro for months after the valued backup broke his right hand in the eighth inning Saturday.

Alexi Casilla pulled his bat away on a bunt attempt, and Mark Buehrle’s pitch struck Castro’s hand and went for a passed ball.

The ball caught Castro on the knuckle, and Buehrle immediately called for trainer Herm Schneider. Castro had to leave the game.

‘‘My knuckle was all the way [into the hand], but they took it out and fixed it,’’ Castro said. ‘‘I called ­fastball away, and the ball was inside. I moved and forgot to get my hand back behind me.

‘‘I’ll be back.’’

Castro’s hand and forearm were bandaged after the game, but it was not known yet if he’ll need surgery or how long he’ll be out.

‘‘He’s been great for us on and off the field,’’ manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Guillen said that kind of injury can take months to heal.

‘‘I apologized to him,’’ Buehrle said. ‘‘[Casilla] pulled the bat away, and I guess he didn’t see it. As soon as I saw [his hand], I called them out. I had to turn around because I would’ve fainted if I looked at it too long.’’

Castro was hitting .235 overall, but .286 with three home runs and six RBI in his last nine games.

Second to Dunn

A better second half from ­struggling hitters Adam Dunn and Alex Rios alone won’t bring a ­turnaround in the Sox’ season. Guillen said the team’s fortunes still revolve around 25 players, not two.

‘‘I don’t think they have to put it on their shoulders,’’ he said. ‘‘They have to do what they have to do. They might have a great second half, and all of a sudden, nobody else does.’’

Dunn remained confident about a better second half.

‘‘I am,’’ Dunn said, ‘‘because I feel like me and Alex, we’ve been as bad as you could possibly be, and if we’re doing half of what we normally do, we’re not even talking about this. . . . We’re putting it all on us in the second half, basically.

‘‘The good thing is our pitching has got us to where we are today. Without what they’ve done, we’re not even in contention.’’

Guillen likes Dunn’s optimism, ‘‘but I don’t want him to put more pressure on himself, like, ‘I have to do it in the second half for the White Sox to win.’ Everybody has something to do here. The second half is about 25 guys, not about two guys. If [everybody] puts it together and does what they’re supposed to do, we’re going to have a chance.’’

Short arms

With Philip Humber apparently not a last-minute choice for the All-Star team, the Sox will move ahead in deciding their second-half rotation alignment.

Humber’s abbreviated outing Thursday and Gavin Floyd’s on Friday left Guillen without a long reliever for Friday, part of the reason he stayed with Floyd as he struggled in the Twins’ six-run fourth inning.

‘‘I always think my [starter] will give me seven innings,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘If something happens, we are prepared for that. But if it happens back-to-back days, you have to be careful. You don’t want to break the best thing you have — that’s our bullpen.’’

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