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updated: 9/26/2013 11:27 PM

White Sox' Konerko puts HR on right path

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  • The White Sox' Avisail Garcia (26) greets Paul Konerko outside the dugout after Konerko's home run off Royals starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie in the second inning Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field.

      The White Sox' Avisail Garcia (26) greets Paul Konerko outside the dugout after Konerko's home run off Royals starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie in the second inning Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
    Associated Press

 
 

Did Paul Konerko hit his final home run in a White Sox uniform during Thursday night's 3-2 loss to the Royals at U.S. Cellular Field?

Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

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There has been all kinds of speculation regarding the Sox' 37-year-old captain's future, and an answer doesn't appear to be coming until after the World Series.

Konerko's contract is up when the White Sox' forgettable season ends Sunday, and he's having the worst year (.248, 12 home runs, 54 RBI) of his career. That leaves retirement as an obvious option, but we'll revisit that down the road.

For now, Konerko will settle for hitting his 434th career homer, a 415-foot solo shot off Kansas City starter Jeremy Guthrie in the second inning.

"When you hit a home run, it's the best feeling in sports, probably," Konerko said. "So you always feel great about it, every player, no matter if you hit a lot of home runs or a little home runs, it's always the best feeling. But that's one thing.

"This year I've hit a lot of balls hard that the path, I put them on a line or I put them on the ground or even balls that got down in the left-field corner, whatever it is, they're balls I usually hit on that trajectory.

"And they're not hit any less hard than say the ball I hit tonight. It's just path, it's the technique of it all, and that's where it is for me. That one tonight, I attacked that one the right way to put it in the air and get it going. I just haven't done that a lot this year."

Konerko didn't take any questions about his future, but he might shed some light when he meets the media in a special session Friday afternoon.

Future for Flowers?

Earlier this season, general manager Rick Hahn warned against judging the White Sox' two young catchers, Tyler Flowers and Josh Phegley, too soon.

Flowers opened the year as the Sox' No. 1 catcher in place of A.J. Pierzynski, but he lost his starting job to Phegley in early July.

On Sept. 5, Flowers had season-ending shoulder surgery, and he finishes with a .195/.247/.355 hitting line. That's not good at all, and neither is Phegley at .212/.229/.308.

Hahn is likely to go get a veteran catcher in the off-season, but Flowers is hoping he gets another shot to show what he can do in 2014.

"I think it puts them in a tough spot, when you go out and you perform like I did," said Flowers, who was at U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday. "It makes it pretty hard to name a starting catcher or anything or really not do something differently going into next season. A guy that hit .195 on the year.

"With that said, obviously I had a couple of things nagging me, and I hope the opportunity is there again at some point. I don't have a lack of confidence at all. I know what I'm capable of. It's just a matter of me going out there and doing it."

On the mend:

Left-handed relief pitcher David Purcey has had two medical opinions on his left ulnar collateral ligament strain and is not expecting surgery.

"I've known a lot of guys that had strained UCLs and everything after resting was fine," Purcey said. "There's like a 10 percent chance that you may need surgery, but beyond that I'm not really looking there yet."

Purcey was 1-1 with a 2.13 ERA in 24 appearances, and he could break camp on the White Sox' 25-man roster in the spring.

"I felt like I was throwing the ball well in (Class AAA) Charlotte and here," Purcey said. "I'm happy with my year. I don't like ending it this way, but it's just sometimes the way it happens."

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