suntimes
SIMMERING 
Weather Updates

White Sox’ Alejandro De Aza might get a look at first base

Sox starter Zach Stewart catcher A.J. Pierzynski have meeting minds mound. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

Sox starter Zach Stewart and catcher A.J. Pierzynski have a meeting of the minds on the mound. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

storyidforme: 16664332
tmspicid: 5979241
fileheaderid: 2803162

Updated: October 19, 2011 2:53AM



Paul Konerko’s lingering calf pain since being hit by a pitch on the last day of the last homestand has the White Sox looking at more defensive options at first base.

Adam Dunn and Brent Lillibridge have shared time there. But Dunn’s offensive woes have continued. He has an American-League-worst 146 strikeouts, is 1-for-17 in his last five games and has had only two hits in his last 23 at bats. Lillibridge, in the lineup Friday against Kansas City Royals left-hander Bruce Chen, was 5-for-14 with two home runs and three RBI in his last nine games, but the position is new to him. Friday was his third career start at first.

The next option could be Alejandro De Aza, who took ground balls at first during batting practice Friday.

“Just in case we need him,’’ manager Ozzie Guillen said. “If Dunn continues to struggle, then I can start him at first against righties. I don’t know if it will happen, but we went a couple times on the road where we had to put somebody at first base but I needed an outfielder, too. [De Aza is an outfielder.] We can’t put Lillibridge at first and right field. That’s what we’re trying to figure out.’’

Bench coach Joey Cora worked with De Aza at first and will give Guillen feedback. But Guillen said he will be cautious about using
De Aza.

“We can put him there for an inning and see. That position is very important. People think they can go out there and play first any time. That position is one of the hardest in the game because every ball, you’re involved in the play.’’

Closing calls

Sergio Santos hasn’t allowed a run with just one hit in his last 12 outings. But Guillen said he won’t hesitate to use Chris Sale in a late game role if the situation dictates the need for a lefty.

“You have to have some talent to be a closer, but you have to be tough mentally to handle that situation, and Santos is doing pretty well,’’ Guillen said. “That’s one of the ­reasons we’ve left him out there most of the time.

“The way Sale is throwing the ball, it can be the opposite too. It can be two righties [at bat] and Santos is in the game and one lefty [batting], if I need a lefty to get somebody out, I will bring in Sale. If there is some situation where I think Sale is the guy to face whoever is at the plate, he will face him. I’m going to go with the best guy out there for a particular hitter.’’

Greatness

Konerko, who continues to fill the designated-hitter role, was named to the Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame.

“It’s certainly not for what I did in that league,’’ he said with a smile. “I think I hit .210.’’

The honor actually is for players who went on to achieve in their pro careers. The list includes Derek Jeter, Dusty Baker, Nomar Garciaparra, Roy Halladay, Derrek Lee and others. Konerko and Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard are this year’s inductees, bringing the number of honorees to 28.

“I’m definitely proud of it,’’ Konerko said.

The ouch record

Carlos Quentin was hit by a pitch in the first, the 23rd time he has been hit, tying the club mark set by Minnie Minoso in 1956.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.