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Chicago White Sox fall 2-1 to Detroit Tigers
General manager Ken Williams said last month he usually doesn't start assessing the direction of the White Sox until 60 games into the regular season.
With a 27-33 record, the Sox are pushing Williams toward considering a breakup of the core of the team, something he seriously pondered during a 90-loss season in 2007.
The disappointment of a 2-1 loss Wednesday night to American League Central leader Detroit and ace Justin Verlander was compounded when first baseman Paul Konerko was hurt. He will be out for at least a few games.
Konerko, one of the offense's few resources, re-injured his right thumb and left after seven innings. Manager Ozzie Guillen said Konerko has a loose ligament that he has dealt with "since I remember."
Konerko coped with his thumb injured last year despite rest and pain-killing injections. He batted only .240. This season he is hitting .291 but is in an 8-for-38 (.211) slump.
Guillen ruled out using Jim Thome at first base for the nine interleague games at National League parks starting Friday and said Josh Fields probably would start Thursday against Detroit.
The Sox lost for the eighth time in their last 10 games while matching their season-high deficit of 6 1/2 games. Before the game, Williams acknowledged he might have to accelerate his blend of young players if the Sox continue their skid as the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline approaches.
"Hard decisions always have to be made, but very clearly, we are in a transitional phase," Williams said. "If this team doesn't pick it up at some point, I'm going to have to do some things that maybe aren't the most popular, but are in the best interest of the club.
"Those things are a little ways away because we still have some time to right the ship and start playing a little bit better. But you have to produce in this game and we have expectations of winning."
After an 0-for-6 performance, the Sox are 6-for-70 (.086) with runners in scoring position this month.
John Danks (4-5) rebounded from two shaky starts to pitch 7 1/3 innings of five-hit ball. But Adam Everett snapped a scoreless tie with a home run in the sixth and the Tigers added a run on Ryan Raburn's bases-loaded walk in the seventh.
The Sox were headed toward their 10th shutout until Jim Thome led off the seventh with a home run. Thome's homer was his seventh against Verlander (7-2), the most Verlander has surrendered to an opponent.
But Verlander's complete-game gem impressed the White Sox.
"It's almost PlayStation stuff, watching him throw the ball exactly where he wants to -- with movement, velocity, the works," Danks said.
Meanwhile, Williams acknowledged that he spoke with Fields about his diminished role, stressing that there wasn't much to debate.
Fields' .235 batting average, his lack of power (three home runs) and 59 strikeouts in 187 at-bats (including the last out Wednesday night) were driving points of Williams' conversation.
But Gordon Beckham, Fields' replacement, has two hits in 20 at-bats, and second baseman Chris Getz is batting only .247.
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Up next Thursday vs. Tigers, 1:05 p.m., WGN-Ch. 9