DETROIT -- Paul Konerko had 9,201 career plate appearances prior to this 2014 season.
Many of them were very successful, as evidenced by his 2,302 hits and 434 home runs. None of them really prepared the White Sox captain for his pinch-hitting/part-time role he's taken on in this 16th and final season playing for the South Siders.
"I've played a million games. I've been playing for a long time," Konerko said. "But you know this role here, no matter how many games you played before or where you are at, it's always a little bit of an adjustment. It still is.
"There are some things that happen just in talking to guys who have done it before, you go out and feel good. Your eyes tell you what to do and you are doing everything right and everything doesn't end up going right.
"That's normal is what I'm saying," Konerko said. "You have to practice it a little bit."
Everything has become a little better for Konerko over his last two games, with four hits in five at-bats. He surpassed Frank Thomas as the franchise leader in career total bases with an eighth-inning double in Wednesday's 6-4 victory.
And getting two late at-bats in Tuesday's loss, including a ninth-inning single to break an 0-for-17 skid, helped set up Konerko for Wednesday's three-hit effort.
"Get out in the field, move around a little bit. That's by design, why Robin threw me in there, because he knew I would be playing [Wednesday]," said Konerko, who also gave Jose Abreu a few innings off at first Tuesday. "Three weeks of doing this, and I think I've gotten better at it in terms of every time my name gets called, I'm a little calmer and a little more collected. It seems normal to me.
"Just because I've had so many thousands of at-bats in my career doesn't necessarily mean anything for this role. It's its own animal. You have to kind of be good at it and practice a little bit. Hopefully I can as the year goes on be really good at it. I want to be not just OK, but really good at it."
Viciedo maturing at the plate
DETROIT -- The White Sox tough love toward Dayan Viciedo is being rewarded.
Viciedo exited Thursday afternoon's series-finishing 7-4 loss to the Tigers hitting an American League best .377 following a three-hit effort. Viciedo has gone on hot streaks that have carried the team in his previous two full seasons, but his patience has been truly impressive through the first 23 games and resulted in a .421 on-base percentage.
There's also the real possibility that because of his three years of professional baseball played for Villa Clara in Cuba, expectations were set a bit too high when the now 25-year-old first arrived in Chicago.
"You come over like he came and acquire him like we acquired him, maybe the expectation was a little different than just a general guy that comes up from the farm system," said White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson of Viciedo. "And a lot of people believe that players from Latin countries, specifically the Cuban guys, are a little more advanced than what we have here as a development. The truth of the matter is they need to develop as well.
"It's kind of a touch-and-feel process when it comes to that. Once you start to get comfortable with understanding the league and how it goes and how people start to pitch you specifically and you are able to make the adjustment, then you start to go."
Earlier in this series, Viciedo talked about laying off sliders out of the strike zone that he has been peppered with throughout his career, as an example of Steverson's above comment. That sort of positive change was what the White Sox sought in order to give Viciedo everyday playing time.
"We have enough technology nowadays to put in front of your face and say, 'Hey, this is where you get yourself out and this is where you do damage.' You start to believe it," Steverson said. "You can't run from yourself. Once you own up to what you have been really, what your downfalls of your negativity in this game have been, and try to make a change to it, then that's step 1."
Beckham returns, thrust into starting lineup
DETROIT -- There wasn't much time for Gordon Beckham to rest upon his return to the White Sox on Thursday.
He arrived in Detroit about two hours before first pitch, back from his injury rehab assignment for a strained left oblique and activated from the disabled list. And he was immediately placed into the starting lineup. Beckham was going to have the day off until Conor Gillaspie was scratched with a sore left hand.
Instead, he got to face Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, finishing 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in a 7-4 loss and two strikeouts coming with runners on base. Beckham knows there will be better days and less tiring days ahead.
"There's not a lot of Max Scherzers throwing around Double-A, I'll tell you that," Beckham said. "But it's one of those days. He was good. He had his stuff. I helped him out a bunch, but he had good stuff."
Beckham played 12 games for Double-A Birmingham on his injury rehab after hitting .267 with five homers and 24 RBIs over 103 games for the White Sox last season. He admitted that the injury rehab took longer than expected, basically because his injury was worse than he first envisioned.
"Yeah, I think a lot longer," Beckham said. "When I started playing earlier in April, I think I re-injured it getting out there. It took some more time. I tried to rush it.
"I had a lot of games down there. But you know most of them were kind of battling through some soreness and stuff. Waking up and feeling bad and then kind of working it out at the field and then playing. Last five games, I would say I didn't feel that. We are trying to make sure I got at-bats where I felt good. I hit some balls hard and stuff like that down there. Just need it to translate."
According to manager Robin Ventura, Beckham resumes his role as starting second baseman. Marcus Semien started at third in place of Gillaspie on Thursday and will hold that spot until Gillaspie returns.
"You don't lose that spot just because you're hurt," Ventura said. "So we expect [Beckham] to be in there."
"Come back tomorrow and get back in Chicago and go get them," Beckham said. "The side feels really good."
Eaton better; Gillaspie needs rest
DETROIT -- Adam Eaton missed a fifth straight game due to a mild strain in his left knee, although he "begged" Robin Ventura to let him play Thursday, according to the White Sox manager. Eaton is more likely to return for Friday's series opener against the Rays, with Ventura adding that Eaton is looking good hitting and moving around.
Third baseman Conor Gillaspie's return doesn't appear quite as certain.
Gillaspie missed two straight games due to a sore left hand but was scheduled to be part of the lineup Thursday. He tested the hand taking early swings in the batting cage and was scratched.
"I'm having a hard time using my hand. If I can't do that, it's pretty tough to play," Gillaspie said. "It's just my hand is bruised where the bat sits. Every time you hit a ball, it hurts.
"It's unfortunate, but I'll try to do everything I can to get healthy. There's no sense in continually being in pain every day."
Rest sounded to be the best answer for getting healthy provided by Gillaspie, who had the injury reccur when he was jammed a couple of times Monday. He didn't feel as if there was anything worse than a bruise in the affected area.
"This has been going on for a couple of weeks, gradually," Gillaspie said. "It would get jammed every other game or whatever and then for whatever reason the other night it just got jammed a couple of times on foul balls, and from then on it's been pretty tender.
"I thought it was getting better, but I tried to swing this morning. If I'm scared to make contact, that's not good."
Abreu takes professional approach to BP
DETROIT -- Hitting one home run to straightaway center at Comerica Park, covering at least 420 feet, usually falls in the rarefied Miguel Cabrera category. Jose Abreu has accomplished that feat twice in the first three games of this series.
"That's a long way," said White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson with a smile. "Especially this time of the year."
"He's clearly got big-time power," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Those were a couple of impressive home runs."
Those who watch Abreu during batting practice might not realize the extent of his power. But that fact highlights the professional approach taken by Abreu at all times.
His goal is to get ready for the game and not necessarily hit balls on to the concourse with every swing.
"Jose has got a good swing," Steverson said. "But if you watch him during BP, he's not the prototypical Mark McGwire-put-20-balls-into-the-stands-in-Big Mac-land kind of guy.
"He can throw them out in BP, but he works on his swing, and that's the best part about his whole game. He actually works on his swing and not just dropping and driving and trying to hit a ball out to the seats."
Third to first
• Alexei Ramirez needs just 12 hits for 1,000 for his career.
• Jose Abreu and Marcus Semien rank 1-2 in RBIs among Major League rookies.
• The White Sox 7-4 loss to Detroit on Thursday ended on an Abreu strikeout and an interference call against Abreu made by home-plate umpire Dan Iassogna when catcher Bryan Holaday tried to throw out Semien stealing second. According to STATS, the last time this happened was Aug. 8, 2006, when Texas' Mark DeRosa struck out and interfered with Oakland catcher Jason Kendall and runner Jerry Hairston, Jr. being ruled out trying to steal second.