Konerko to return once swelling subsides

Konerko to return once swelling subsides

CHICAGO -- White Sox first baseman and captain Paul Konerko looked like a fighter who absorbed a few too many shots to the left side of his face when he talked to the media prior to Saturday's game at Wrigley Field.

But Konerko, who passed all tests for possible breaks and post-concussion symptoms, feels fortunate the ugly black eye and ensuing swelling that has his eye partially closed was the worst of the deal from getting hit with a Jeff Samardzija splitter in the third inning of Friday's 3-2 victory.

As soon as Konerko can see without "something in the way," he'll be back on the field.

"I feel good. It's obviously a black eye, swollen," Konerko said. "It's just a matter of getting the swelling down. There's no damage, no fractures, no problems with vision, other than just kind of seeing the swelling when I look out. So as soon as we get that out of the way, I'll be good to go.

"Anytime you get hit up high, everything happens kind of fast and it kind of blew up kind of quick. So when I was looking out, within 5-10 seconds my vision was obstructed by the swelling. But when it first happens like that you're thinking something is wrong with your actual vision, which is a different story. So luckily it wasn't that. It's just a nice black eye."

Konerko felt as if he was all right by the time he got up off the field and walked up the stairs to the clubhouse, knowing that it was the swelling blocking his vision and not anything wrong with his eye. The pitch hit the visor of the helmet first, as Konerko heard the helmet and then felt the ball.

That black eye also is going to get him a little bit of ribbing from his teammates.

"This is one of those ones that you definitely hear about it a little bit," Konerko said. "It happened to [Gordon] Beckham last year on a play in the field and we worked him over for a while.

"I'm probably going to be back out there playing long before it all goes away, too. It'll probably hang around for a few weeks where you can still see remnants of it. You definitely get guys asking why you couldn't play today or why I came out of the game. Calling me soft and stuff like that. That's just the way it is when you play for a team."

Don't look for Konerko to wear any sort of protective shield when he comes back, which could be as early as Tuesday against the Twins, with manager Robin Ventura all but ruling him out of Sunday's contest. As for Samardzija, Konerko had not talked to him after being struck by a splitter that chased him up and in and "unraveled kind of into me."

"He seems fine," said Ventura of Konerko, who is hitting a team-best .367 with eight homers and 23 RBIs. "He would want to play if he could see. He's doing fine."