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Saturday, May 31, 2014
Paul Konerko (back) returns to lineup

By Doug Padilla

CHICAGO – Paul Konerko was back in the White Sox’s lineup Saturday after missing the last two games with back soreness.

"He's all clear," manager Robin Ventura said. "I think you go through periods where it's bound up. It's happening the last couple years where it gets a little bound up where it doesn't feel good. We gave him a few days to deal with it and clean it up, so he's good to go."

Konerko spent time in the disabled list last year with back trouble, but this injury wasn’t as extreme. Konerko did admit that it was in the same area as last year’s injury and probably related.

To test his back, Konerko participated briefly in Saturday morning's simulated game set up for Jose Abreu. He took a few swings at live pitching and then had an extra batting-practice session with bench coach Mark Parent pitching.

In a bench role this season, Konerko is batting just .171 with a .213 on-base percentage and a .293 slugging percentage. He has two home runs and 11 RBIs.

Konerko has been playing regularly since the middle of May when Jose Abreu went on the disabled list, although he has been getting most of his chances in the designated hitter role as Adam Dunn plays more first base.

The White Sox do need a roster spot when Abreu comes off the disabled list as expected on Monday, but it doesn’t seem as if Konerko will take a turn on the DL, unless he has a setback with his back this weekend.