CHICAGO -- In a season filled with disappointing news, the White Sox got a heavy dose on Wednesday, when both first baseman/designated hitter Paul Konerko and setup man Jesse Crain were placed on the disabled list.
Konerko, a fixture in the heart of the White Sox lineup during his 15 years with the club, is making just his third trip to the DL, this time with a lower back strain. Crain, perhaps Chicago's most consistent player this season, heads to the DL with a right shoulder strain, similar to the one that set him back almost exactly a year ago.
"Even last year, you had moments where you have injuries and you have to fill them," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You get guys who can come in and fill in until they come back. You make due."
The team recalled third baseman Brent Morel from Triple-A Charlotte and purchased the contract of left-hander David Purcey from Charlotte to fill the two spots on the roster.
Crain, who was a leading candidate to be Chicago's All-Star Game representative, has a 0.74 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings over 38 appearances. He has allowed just three earned runs and leads American League relievers in ERA, is second with 19 holds, tied for seventh in appearances and ninth in strikeouts. He set a franchise record when he made 29 consecutive scoreless appearances from April 17-June 22.
Crain said his arm didn't feel good playing catch before Tuesday's game, but hoped it would be better if he got loose during the game. He warmed in the seventh, but sat down after also throwing a few breaking balls and not feeling right.
"I just think it started happening from the work I've been doing and throwing a lot and I think it's finally started getting tired," Crain said. "And it's sort of like last year. When it gets tired, I think that's what my arm does, it get strained."
Crain was placed on the DL on July 4 of last year, also with a right shoulder strain.
"A year to the day I had an MRI, which is pretty crazy," Crain said. "But I guess it's similar. I wish I could explain it. I wish I had a way to figure out why it does it. But I think [it's] from throwing a lot. And when I go out there, I go all in. Every game I go in, every pitch is important, so I just think it finally took its toll on me and I just got it strained and hopefully I can be back in two weeks."
Konerko missed the first six games of the current homestand, then played in the series opener against the Orioles on Tuesday. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
"As a player, you get to a point where you think you're OK, you're kind of out of the woods," Ventura said. "And I think he would admit it, you let yourself think you're feeling pretty good, you go in the cage and swing, and it's just different. The adrenaline sometimes helps you, because you're going to go play in the game and you think it's going to be better and it doesn't.
"It kind of works against you, because all of the progress that you've made in those four days, you lose once you get in there and start swinging. He felt like he could do it."
Dunn's recent surge is above average
CHICAGO -- There's a reasonable expectation that Adam Dunn will always hit for power. Lately, though, his average has been climbing.
Dunn is hitting .315 over his last 21 games entering Wednesday, raising his average from .156 to .199 in that span. He's also driven in 23 runs, hit nine homers, scored 16 runs and walked 15 times.
"He is [locked in]. He's swinging it good," manager Robin Ventura said. "Even [against the Orioles on Tuesday] he gets out, but he still lines out, a lot of hard contact from him lately. He's going to walk, he's going to strike out, but the hard contact is probably the best thing. This is a good stretch for him."
Dunn hit a long home run on Tuesday night to extend the lead in the seventh. He has 20 or more homers in the first half of the season for the 10th time in his career. But even when he wasn't hitting so well at the beginning of the year, he tried not to over-analyze.
"I just think once you continually put yourself in a good position to hit, for the most part everything else takes care of itself," Dunn said. "I can't guide the ball. It's not an Xbox. You can't make it move the way you want it to go. So you just put the barrel on it, put a swing on it and whatever happens, happens."
• Chicago Blackhawks players Patrick Sharp and Brandon Bollig brought the Stanley Cup to U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday, and set it in front of the mound before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. The White Sox also recorded a congratulatory video to the Blackhawks.
"It's great," Ventura said. "I think they should take that thing everywhere and run it around. You hear all the stories going around, the things that have happened to it. It's nice that we get to see it out here."
• Ventura said right-hander Matt Lindstrom would fill in as a setup man while Crain is on the disabled list, and righty Nate Jones would also help in those situations.
"It's going to be a combination of him and Nate trying to fill that spot," Ventura said. "[Purcey] gives us another element, as far as helping us out. Matt Thornton, too, of being another lefty in there, so Matty's probably going to get to mix it in with those guys probably more in the eighth inning."
Jones has a scoreless streak of 7 1/3 innings over seven games, while Thornton's 17 holds are currently third-most before the All-Star break in White Sox history. Purcey had three saves and 43 strikeouts in 26 relief appearances this year with Triple-A Charlotte.
• Ventura said Dayan Viciedo may move around the lineup with Konerko out, and he may also get a chance to DH. Jordan Danks and Jeff Keppinger could also see a bit more playing time.