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Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Konerko returns to White Sox lineup

By Doug Padilla

Paul Konerko was back in the White Sox's lineup Wednesday after getting two days off to rest and recharge.

And even though the team captain had an extended break, with the idea that it will help to take his mind off some early-season struggles at the plate, he was back in the designated-hitter spot instead of playing first base.

Over his past eight games, Konerko was batting .152 (5-for-33) with a .200 on-base percentage and a .182 slugging percentage, with just one extra-base hit during that time. He hasn't hit a home run since April 28.

Konerko typically shows early-season production, but this year has been much different. His 73 career home runs in April are tied for the second most in a month trailing only his 84 home runs in June. He is also a career .285 hitter in the opening month of the season with a .357 on-base percentage and a .506 slugging percentage.

Over the first six-plus weeks this season Konerko's numbers are .214/.273/.349. He has four home runs and 16 RBIs, but that RBI total lags well behind American League-leader Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, who has 41. Alex Rios leads the White Sox with 20 RBIs.

It will be Konerko's 17th start as the designated hitter. He also has 17 starts at first base this season. Manager Robin Ventura has been using the DH spot to get the 37-year-old Konerko off his feet as much as possible this season in order to preserve him for later in the year.

The White Sox's complete lineup against Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey:

Dewayne Wise, CF
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Alex Rios, RF
Adam Dunn, 1B
Konerko, DH
Conor Gillaspie, 3B
Dayan Viciedo, LF
Jeff Keppinger, 2B
Hector Gimenez, C

Dylan Axelrod is the White Sox's starting pitcher.