White Sox 1B Konerko out with bruised kneecap

TOM WITHERS (AP Sports Writer)
September 25, 2013
White Sox 1B Konerko out with bruised kneecap
Chicago White Sox's Paul Konerko hits a single against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game on Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)

CLEVELAND (AP) -- White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko couldn't play in the club's final road game because of a sore right kneecap.

It's not nearly as painful as Chicago's season.

Konerko was kept out of Wednesday's game after the 15-year veteran fouled a pitch off his knee in the eighth inning Tuesday night against the Indians. Konerko dropped to the ground for several moments after knocking right-hander Joe Smith's pitch off his knee. He stayed in the game and struck out before being replaced in the bottom of the inning.

''I'm a little sore,'' Konerko said. ''It's definitely shaken up a little bit. It's kind of embarrassing to foul a ball off your back leg. Your front leg is always in play, but your back leg ... I'm not too happy about that.''

This season hasn't gone as planned for the White Sox, who were expected to contend in the AL Central but were never in the race. They entered Wednesday with 95 losses, and have dropped a team record 46 games inside the division.

Konerko can't put his finger on what went wrong.

''Every year there's players who have good years and players who have bad years,'' Konerko said. ''There's no rhyme or reason to some of it. With a team, it can be like that sometimes where we just didn't get off right and little moments here and there. There are always little moments that shape a season. It just seemed like everything that could go wrong went wrong, between the lines, outside the lines.

''The fact that the division got better, you get under water and it's like they don't let you up. That's kind of how it went. All you can do is keep yourself up as a team, as a person and get back into it.''

Konerko, who is batting .248 with 11 homers and 53 RBIs in 122 games, doesn't think the injury will end his season. He's hoping to be back in the lineup when the White Sox open a four-game home series against Kansas City on Thursday.

The 37-year-old has not said if he plans to retire after this season.

Konerko praised the job manager Robin Ventura and his staff did during a trying season.

''We've put him in a tough spot all year,'' Konerko said. ''The fact that he's held it together with what he's had to witness all year, with the rest of the coaches. I could tell you there probably are a lot of staffs and managers that this could have been really bad with what happened, but hopefully this is the last time he has to go through something like this.''


AP freelancer Steve Herrick contributed to this report.