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Saturday, May 25, 2013
Konerko breaking out of hitting slump

By Bruce Levine

CHICAGO -- First baseman Paul Konerko is starting to swing the bat, and that is good news for the Chicago White Sox and the veteran’s teammates. The 37-year-old team captain had three hits Friday, including a go-ahead single in the seventh inning and a one-out base hit in the 11th that led to the winning run in the 4-3 victory over the Miami Marlins.

"I am out there fighting and competing," he said. "I am just [looking] at the situation in front of me and trying to bring your work into the game. This is good stuff to build off of, so you just keep playing."

Konerko had shown signs lately of coming out of a season-long slump. On Wednesday evening, he hit the ball hard four times, collecting two hits, which included his fifth home run of the season.

"[He] is becoming more consistent," manager Robin Ventura said. "It is tough when you start that way [in a season-long slump]. Now he can see the light at the end of the tunnel with more consistent at-bats in situations. He isn’t trying to do too much -- doing the right thing just hitting."

The White Sox have won seven of their past 10 with contributions from Adam Dunn to begin the streak, and now Konerko.

"It seems that was our problem from the get-go," second baseman Jeff Keppinger, whose base hit scored Tyler Greene with the game-winning run, said. "The middle of the order and when I was hitting at the top of the order were not hitting," Keppinger said. "All of that was making it tough to score runs and put anything together."

Even with five hits in two nights, Konerko is hitting .236 on the season. Surprisingly, he is hitting .323 with runners in scoring position. The 15-year veteran is just 12 games shy of tying Hall of Famer Nellie Fox for games played by a White Sox player (2,115).