Brent Lillibridge breaks hand
CHICAGO -- The tears Brent Lillibridge fought back Thursday night weren't coming because of the pain in his right hand.
They were coming because of the news that he would miss the last few weeks of the season because of a fracture in his fifth metacarpal after he was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning.
After batting .258 with 13 home runs and 29 RBIs, Lillibridge was sad to see his season as a super-sub come to an end.
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"I'm blessed, obviously," Lillibridge said. "I did so well and just wanted to finish. I really saw, being kind of out of it, to play more and do more damage. But it wasn't in the plans. I was very blessed with the season I've had and what I've done for the White Sox, and I'll come back for next year. I'll be ready and competitive."
When he was hit by a pitch up and in from the Indians' Josh Judy, Lillibridge said he pretty much realized at that point how bad the injury was. When trainer Herm Schneider took off Lillibridge's batting glove, his right hand was shaking.
But if this really was the end, then Lillibridge wanted to run the bases one more time. He scored when Paul Konerko followed with a grand slam.
"My legs worked fine," he said. "I told them I could run. No big deal. I could trot around the bases on Paulie's [home run]. That made me feel a little better after running around a little bit."
Manager Ozzie Guillen gave Lillibridge a hug afterward and told him to head back to his hometown of Seattle and get Chicago off his mind for now.
"This kid is playing very well for us, help us a lot at a position he's never played before," Guillen said. "He makes our ballclub a lot better every time he was out there, no matter whether it was a pinch runner, pinch hitter. He resolved the biggest problem we had when [Konerko] got hurt. He was playing first base, never did it before, and he handled it very well."
Lillibridge went from barely making the team out of spring training to being a key contributor as a reserve. Along with reinventing himself as a first baseman the past month, he also made some solid plays in left and right field.
Then there was the power. Lillibridge had three career home runs before this season in 273 major league at-bats. His 13 home runs this year came in 189 at-bats.
"You feel terrible for Lillibridge," Konerko said. "He's having a great year; he's swinging the bat great. I guess the only good thing about it is it's toward the end here where we are not far away from the end of the year. But it would have been nice to see him finish up the year he's having."
Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
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