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updated: 7/19/2014 11:15 PM

Konerko: White Sox not really good, but not bad either

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  • White Sox reliever Zach Putnam, right, celebrates with catcher Tyler Flowers after picking up the save in Saturday night's 4-3 victory over the Astros at U.S. Cellular Field. Flowers drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth inning with a double.

      White Sox reliever Zach Putnam, right, celebrates with catcher Tyler Flowers after picking up the save in Saturday night's 4-3 victory over the Astros at U.S. Cellular Field. Flowers drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth inning with a double.
    Associated Press

 
 

Leave it to Paul Konerko, again, to get it exactly right.

On the topic of evaluating the White Sox, Konerko was dead-on with this observation:

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"I don't even know where we're at," Konerko said. "I know we're not a bad team. I know we're also not in the conversation with the really good ones, either. We've been kind of up and down, but I don't think we're a bad team."

With a 4-3 victory Saturday night over the Astros at U.S. Cellular Field, the Sox improved to 47-51 and are a reasonable 5 games out of the final wild-card spot.

Does that mean general manager Rick Hahn would think about scrapping any of the potential trades he has on the table as the July 31 nonwaiver deadline approaches?

That is a negative, and Hahn said as much Friday.

No matter how the rest of the month plays out, the White Sox are clearly a team missing quite a few pieces, and Hahn might go well into the off-season before addressing every hole.

Catcher appears to be high on the need-to-improve list, but Tyler Flowers is trying to make a final decision tougher.

After driving in the winning run in Friday's 3-2 win over Houston, Flowers was 3-for-3 with 2 RBI in Saturday's victory, his double in the fifth inning scoring Alejandro De Aza with the deciding run.

"You never know what happens," manager Robin Ventura said. "I don't know where he went over the (all-star) break, but you can come back with renewed energy. Catching's a tough thing to do.

"I think you don't find too many catchers that are going to hit all year long. It's a tough position, and people that do it are special. With him getting some rest, maybe it kind of gets him going in the right direction."

Finding a reliable closer is another task Hahn needs to complete at some point. For now, the Sox aren't quite sure who is going to be on the mound in the ninth inning.

On Saturday, Jake Petricka appeared to get the call, but after the Astros put runners on first and second and with two outs, Ventura pulled Petricka and went with Zach Putnam against left-handed hitting Jason Castro.

"For me, it was just a better matchup," Ventura said. "Again, you don't really have that clear-cut closer, so to speak.

"Unfortunately I don't have a guy that you're just going to leave out there, saying that's your closer. I like Put's swing-and-missability with some lefties, and that's the reason."

Putnam got ahead of Castro 0-2 with a spitters and struck him out to end the game on a high cut fastball.

"I mean, it's interesting and there's definitely an element of fun to it," Putnam said after saving his second straight game. "We don't know from game to game who is going to have that ninth if it's a save opp.

"I have no doubt that (Petricka) could have closed that out no problem. But Robin and (pitching coach Don Cooper) wanted to try something different, and I'm happy they gave me the opportunity."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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