Paul Konerko is the oldest current member of the Chicago White Sox. Is it fair to expect him to provide a boost with a strong finish in 2012? Fair or not, I'm hoping that the captain has it in him to carry the White Sox over these last 30 games.
The White Sox have certainly won with a host of players making contributions throughout the season. Kevin Youkilis arrived in late June and provided instant giddy-up. Alex Rios has been a force in the middle of the lineup over the last two months.
Dewayne Wise has come up big in place of the injured Alejandro De Aza, who himself has had a solid season at the top of the lineup. A.J. Pierzynski has turned in one of his most productive offensive seasons. Adam Dunn is on pace to knock in 100 runs.
Konerko is coming off of an August that saw him hit .231. At age 36, the wear and tear of a 162-game schedule is bound to have an effect on him. Konerko is likely experiencing at least some discomfort due to the bone chip in his wrist that is scheduled to be removed this offseason.
Add that to the everyday bumps and bruises, and expecting a return of the Konerko we saw light up the league in the season's first two months is probably not realistic. That's too bad, because we could really use that guy right now.
With Dunn missing Saturday's game in Detroit with what was termed as a sore right oblique muscle, the prospect that the White Sox's DH could be sidelined for at least a few days is a real possibility. Chicago has had trouble scoring runs in clutch situations on their recent road trip, and losing a bat as heavy as Dunn's doesn't help matters.
Dan Johnson played for Dunn Saturday night and went 1-for-3. With a slew of homers in Triple-A Charlotte, Johnson could play a part in filling in for Dunn if his injury is worse than expected. However, it's hard to be too optimistic about a player who has hit .198 and .119 in his last two September call-ups with the Rays in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
If Chicago is to win what is a two-horse race with the Tigers for the AL Central title, they will have to get production throughout the lineup. However, Konerko finding his stroke and leading the White Sox on a September surge would certainly be great to watch.
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