Paul Konerko not in lineup

Updated: September 20, 2012, 8:07 PM ET
By Bruce Levine | ESPNChicago.com

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko was held out of Thursday's game against the Kansas City Royals with a stiff back.

Manager Robin Ventura decided a day's rest for Konerko would be a good idea with 14 games left in the season and no off days for the White Sox, who took a 2½-game lead over the Detroit Tigers into Wednesday's game.

"I don't know if it is real bad," Ventura said. "It is bad enough that he could use a day. It has been off and on, but lately it has been a little more."

Ventura is optimistic Konerko will be able to play Friday against the Los Angeles Angels.

Konerko missed eight games from Aug. 8-17 with a concussion. He missed two games in May after getting hit in the head by a pitch from the Cubs' Jeff Samardzija. He's also had off-and-on back and hip problems throughout his career with the Sox.

"You never want to miss any games," Konerko said. "You can't argue with ... getting one day off with (14 ) games left.

"I think I have played every game since coming back (from the concussion ). We are just trying to sprinkle one in here and get on with it from here."

Alex Rios, who is hitting .301 with 24 home runs and 87 RBIs, replaced Konerko in the cleanup spot. Kevin Youkilis, who normally bats second but is in an 0-for-11 skid and hitting .133 over his past 17 games, was dropped to the sixth for the first time.

Konerko leads the club with a .305 batting average and has 23 home runs with 69 RBIs. He has hit .257 since his average peaked at .399 on May 27.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.