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updated: 8/12/2012 10:04 PM

Tough to figure when Konerko will return

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  • Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale puts his hand on Paul Konerko's shoulder in the dugout after Konerko's home run in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012, in Chicago. The White Sox won 4-2.

      Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale puts his hand on Paul Konerko's shoulder in the dugout after Konerko's home run in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012, in Chicago. The White Sox won 4-2.
    Associated Press

 
 

Q: Is Paul Konerko's concussion a longterm concern?

A: To me, it is currently the White Sox' biggest concern. That and, of course, the health of the entire pitching staff as a whole. In particular, the starting rotation.

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That's something I've covered before a number of times, and I suspect it will remain a concern of mine until we find ourselves in early October.

In Konerko's case, however, there's just no certainty. It may be that he feels perfectly fine when the Sox visit the Royals on Friday (the day he may first be eligible to play again).

Famously, Justin Morneau suffered a concussion while sliding into second base against the Blue Jays in July of 2010. Like Konerko's play at first base, it didn't appear to be all that severe of a collision. At the time, the Twins were hopeful he'd be back in about a week. However, it took well over a year for Morneau to recover, and he's really never been the same since.

Meanwhile, Boston's Josh Beckett was nailed by a batted ball during pregame warmups the same month. Beckett was ready to play just over a week later.

What Konerko does have working in his favor is that he doesn't have a history of diagnosed concussions. Morneau, on the other hand, does.

Ultimately, it's difficult to predict just how a person will recuperate from an injury of this kind and there isn't much that can be done to guarantee a full recovery.

The process of the new 7-day DL requires a certain amount of criteria met before he can return. In other words, the team and MLB will not allow him back on the field before he's truly ready.

That's good for his personal well-being, and there is nothing more important.

All of my worry may be for naught. Konerko may just be ready to go in five days and may just very well pick up where he left off (4 home runs and 10 RBI in his last 16 games).

Though the situation is without assurance, there is one guarantee: the Sox need Paul Konerko.

Q: Why has the bullpen been so much better the past few weeks?

A: There isn't any reason it shouldn't be, but as most people know, even good bullpens will go through periods of relative ineffectiveness. Aside from some instances over the weekend, the Sox' bullpen has done a very good job of holding leads and keeping games close.

They're in better position than most teams in that they have four reliable relievers at the back end in Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton, Brett Myers, and Addison Reed.

And though the sample is small, it looks like they now have a long reliever in Humber, who threw 3 scoreless innings on Saturday.

The Sox have what contending teams need: a steady bullpen, as bullpens go.

Q: Is Jordan Danks' walk-off home run Friday night the highlight of the season so far?

A: I think there have been a few of them so far, including Alex Rios' walk-off a little over a week ago, and Philip Humber's perfect game.

For Jordan Danks, though, it is absolutely the highlight of his season, and his career.

• Chris Rongey is the host of the White Sox pregame and postgame shows on WSCR 670-AM The Score. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRongey and at chrisrongey.com. Subscriber Total Access members can email him questions each week via our online link.

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