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posted: 9/4/2012 12:01 AM

Gellinger on the mend; Sox honor Hickey

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The White Sox have been battling on two fronts all season.

On the field, they are struggling to stay on top of the AL Central with 28 games to play.

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Off the field, the Sox have been dealing with unfortunate issues.

The latest involves assistant hitting coach Mike Gellinger, who collapsed in his Baltimore hotel room last Wednesday when the White Sox were in town to play the Orioles.

Gellinger, a 1982 Fremd High School graduate, was able to fly back to Chicago over the weekend when the Sox were in Detroit, but his return to the team is uncertain.

"Hopefully he'll be back in awhile," manager Robin Ventura said. "But he has something wrong with his neck that he has to get taken care of."

Before the Monday night's Labor Day game against the Minnesota Twins, the White Sox paid tribute to former instructor/batting practice pitcher Kevin Hickey. He collapsed in his Texas hotel room in April, the day before the regular season opener against the Rangers.

Hickey never regained consciousness and died May 14.

The Sox presented Hickey's family with his framed No. 99 jersey autographed by the players and coaches and a photo collage.

They also will name the indoor cages behind the White Sox' dugout the "Kevin Hickey Batting Cages," which will be marked with a memorial plaque.

"Ask anyone in our clubhouse; every person here appreciated what Kevin did to help the White Sox win baseball games," captain Paul Konerko said. "No one wanted to win more, no one was more optimistic, no one cared more, and no one took more pride in his job. He made all of us better."

Konerko, Kevin Youkilis and starting pitcher Hector Santiago were among the White Sox players sporting mustaches Monday night in honor of Hickey.

The Sox also lost ambassador Bill "Moose" Skowron, who passed away April 27.

"This is our job and this is what we do and it's important," Ventura said. "Everyone realizes that. We get paid a lot of money to do this. But by no means is it the end of the world.

"So the stuff that's happened with Kevin Hickey at the beginning of the year, it really levels that out for people to realize the importance of life and being happy and all those things.

"Even the stuff with Gelly that happened in Baltimore, you just never know. So you know it's important and you do your best and you care about it. But on the real scheme of things it's down the list a little bit."

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