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Saturday, June 1, 2013
Paul Konerko slowed by stiff neck

By Eric Gilmore
Special to ESPNChicago.com

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The struggling Chicago White Sox offense likely will be without slugger Paul Konerko for at least one game and possibly longer because of a sore neck.

Konerko woke up with a stiff neck Saturday and, after striking out twice as the designated hitter against the Athletics later in the day, he took himself out of the game in the top of the six inning, with Casper Wells pinch hitting.

"Just wound up, the lower right part of my neck," Konerko said.

"I woke up today. It was not great. I got in here and got it loose in [batting practice] and what-not and felt better. And then when I came back for the game, it kind of seized up on me. I'm not really worried about it as far as it's a major thing. I just knew the way I'm bunched up and the way I was bunched up out there, it was making it difficult to even keep it on track as far as taking a swing. I had to at that point say, 'Let's get this thing out of here and get it right.' That's pretty much the story."

Said White Sox manager Robin Ventura: "He probably won't be there tomorrow. We have a few guys with a few things, which limits us to what we can do. Hopefully, he can [play] Monday."

The White Sox lost their fifth straight game Saturday, falling 4-3 to the A's in 10 innings.

Before Saturday, Konerko had hit .333 with a home run and five RBIs in his previous 11 games. Chicago will try to salvage one win in the three-game series Sunday.

The White Sox also saw a few other players get banged up Saturday.

Chicago center fielder Alejandro De Aza was shaken up after running into the wall chasing Nate Freiman's triple in the fifth. In the sixth inning, shortstop Alexei Ramirez was hit from behind by left fielder Dayan Viciedo while catching a pop fly for the third out in the inning. Ramirez stayed down on the outfield grass for a while before walking slowly off the field. Both players stayed in the game.

Konerko, however, hopes his neck won't hinder him for long.

I'll try to get back out there as quick as I can because I'm seeing the ball pretty good and feeling pretty good [at the plate]," Konerko said. "But I knew before my first at-bat I was a little bit in trouble, and then after my first at-bat, it even got worse. To the second AB, it was a little bit of a long layoff there DH-ing. I just knew, 'This isn't competitive. I've got an issue here.' We'll see. The last couple years I've had some neck problems. This one seems a little different as far as where it is. It's a little bit more in my [trapezius] area. I don't foresee it being a long time. I just knew what I was rolling out there today ain't going to work."

Eric Gilmore is a contributor to ESPNChicago.com.