- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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As far as scary moments go, Friday’s events for Paul Konerko were right there at the top of his most frightening times in the game.
The White Sox captain was concerned about possible vision loss after getting hit in the head by Jeff Samardzija.
“In the first 20 seconds I had blurred vision and was a little worried,” Konerko said. “Once I realized it was skin that had swelled up over the eye and not the eye itself I was OK in my mind.”
Konerko missed the last two games of the Cubs series over the weekend as he waited for the swelling and bruising to subside around his left eye.
“It was definitely tough not to play those other two games with the wind blowing out 100 mph,” Konerko said. “You don’t want to miss those ones, but that’s the game we play -- sometimes you get hit and have to sit out.”
Konerko totally exonerated Samardzija for the pitch. The Cubs pitcher called Konerko in the Sox clubhouse on Saturday afternoon to see how he was recovering.
“I told him no worries and that nobody gets hit in the face on purpose by a breaking pitch,” Konerko said. “I told him that I knew it wasn’t intentional, not even close, and he said he appreciated that. Sometimes (getting hit) happens. It is a part of the job.”
Konerko and his teammates had to say goodbye to a dear friend and part of the Sox family on Tuesday, as Kevin Hickey was buried after passing away on May 16. Konerko was one of the pall bearers.
“It has been very difficult for all of us since Hick got sick and saying goodbye was hard for all of us,” Konerko said. “Anyone who knew Hick knows he would tell us not to waste any time feeling sad about this, go out and get the job done. At the same time you see his family suffering and in pieces and that hurts you badly.”
Konerko, the team leader in most offensive categories, is hitting .367 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs.