CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko and his White Sox teammates had traveled from Cleveland to New York on the night of Sept. 10, 2001. As the White Sox captain remembers, many of the players were asleep when two planes hit the World Trade Center Towers and killed close to 3,000 people 12 years ago Wednesday.
"Nobody is going to forget what happened that day," Konerko said. "But to be in New York, it was very, a weird place to be, that's for sure. So, no doubt, it's always a story that I have to tell, but it's not exactly you want to tell that one. It was definitely a crazy day and just it seems like it was yesterday."
Konerko remembers a beautiful morning in New York, "not a cloud in the sky," before the atrocities took place. He recounted Tuesday how the players wanted to get out of the Grand Central Hyatt, where they were staying, with it being attached to Grand Central station, and just move out on to the street.
"Me and a couple of guys, we walked all the way down as far as we could go to the Towers," Konerko said. "We got close enough to where you could see smoke and debris and stuff.
"Just basically walk where it had already been hit. We figured that was the safest place to be. The rest of the day was kind of a lot of walking around, and the next morning we were out of there at 6 a.m."
Manager Robin Ventura was playing for the Mets at the time, but the team was in Pittsburgh. By the time they bussed back the next day, Shea Stadium had been turned into a staging area.
"Everything around Shea was filled with supplies, and there was a lot of people coming and going and firefighters that were there coming from all over the country that were kind of staged there and they'd get driven in," Ventura said. "We were around it a lot."
A moment of silence in honor of the National Day of Service & Remembrance will be observed at U.S. Cellular Field prior to Wednesday's game. Much like the Boston Marathon bombing this year, Ventura finds it mindboggling that such acts of terrorism actually can happen, but the nation perseveres through tough times.
"The people who were in charge [in New York] and were helping out and doing stuff, the amount of work that went into it, and the planning and execution of it all is unbelievable," Ventura said. "When you're a player or you're around or know people who, New York, it kind of gets emotional."
Manto sees progress in young White Sox hitters
CHICAGO -- White Sox hitting coach Jeff Manto wants to have the same job for the 2014 season.
Manto, who previously served as the Pirates' hitting coach during the 2006 and 2007 campaigns and is under contract to the White Sox for next year, understands his wish won't be automatically granted. General manager Rick Hahn said Monday that the coaching staff will be evaluated after the season, and the White Sox offense has struggled through an overall '13 showing where it sits last in the American League in runs scored.
"I'm signed to come back next year. I'm hoping to be back," Manto told MLB.com before Tuesday's batting practice. "Obviously, it's not up to me, but I'm anticipating coming back.
"I think we did as good of a job as we possibly could. We came with a lot of energy and a positive attitude. And guess what? We fell a little short, but there was a lot to build on and a lot of excitement ahead of us."
Under Manto's guidance in 2012, the White Sox finished fourth in runs scored and third in home runs. Manto doesn't consider that group to have overachieved; he simply believes that was a talented overall squad.
The dismal runs scored ranking this year is joined by only 128 homers as a team, placing the club third from the bottom, and a .303 on-base percentage that is second from last. Manto always has been an exceedingly upbeat individual and tries to look at the good signs from the offense during these trying times.
"It was a great learning year. We had a lot of guys who got better despite the collective numbers," Manto said. "I'm pleased with how the rookies went about their business. I'm pleased with [Dayan] Viciedo coming on strong and [Alejandro] De Aza staying consistent. I'm happy where [Gordon] Beckham is, and Alexei [Ramirez] is up there hitting .280 again.
"So, a lot of positive things came out of there. I look at what Conor Gillaspie did. First time in the big leagues for a full year, and Avisail [Garcia] having a good little run here. There's a lot of things to be positive about, although the numbers would indicate let's beat it up."
When asked for the negatives, Manto quickly points to the team's overall record.
"Those statistics, we want to score more runs," Manto said. "We want to do other things. The bottom line, whether on offense or defense, is you want to win more games. That was most disappointing."
Cooper working through symptoms of diverticulitis
CHICAGO -- White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper missed three games in Baltimore this past weekend because of a second bout of diverticulitis, which cost him 10 games earlier this season. But he wasn't about to miss Monday's contest, not with Chris Sale on the mound.
"I don't even like talking about it other than to educate people who might be having it," Cooper said of his illness. "I can tell you what's going on. I know what happens now when you're going to get it. But I don't enjoy talking about it, simply because there are so many other people who have it so much worse than I have, and I'm not complaining or moaning about what I have."
Cooper has to take care of the issue in the offseason because he doesn't want it creeping up every four months. He said that part of the illness is hereditary, part is getting older and part could be a result of stress. Then again, he pointed out that his competitive desire leaves a pit in his stomach before pretty much every game.
"They say stress, but I don't wake up every morning fretting and I don't fret at the end of every night," Cooper said. "It's unfortunate what we're going through this year, but I accept that like I accept the diverticulitis. If it comes my way, I'll deal with it. And we'll try to make it better."
Ventura not looking ahead to offseason
CHICAGO -- General manager Rick Hahn indicated Monday that entering the free-agent market and trades both could be avenues to improve the 2014 White Sox. Then again, he wouldn't commit too much to either method, not with 19 games remaining this season.
Manager Robin Ventura followed that same approach during his pregame session Tuesday, when asked if any offseason move would be considered a surprise because of the team's current state.
"You don't know what's out there or who's calling for what as far as how that's all going to shake out," Ventura said. "We have to figure out a way to move forward and get better as quickly as possible.
"Again, put that aside and focus on what we're doing right now instead of that. But you could see moves being made. Even though our record was what it was [at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline], there were still teams that wanted guys on our team."
Third to first
• White Sox broadcasters Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, Steve Stone, Ed Farmer, Darrin Jackson and Hector Molina are candidates for the 2014 Ford C. Frick Award. These five will be considered as part of the new "High Tide Era," which represents broadcasters' contributions made during the regional cable network era from 1980 to the present. The winner will be announced at the 2013 Winter Meetings and honored at the 2014 Hall of Fame ceremony.
• The White Sox rank last in the Majors with a .980 fielding percentage, one year after leading the Majors with a franchise-record .9883 mark.
• Double-A Birmingham advanced to the Southern League championship series against Mobile with a 7-4 victory over Tennessee on Monday night, as Nestor Molina earned the win in relief. Tennessee is the Cubs' Double-A affiliate. The Barons play in the finals, beginning Tuesday night, for the first time since 2002.
"That's cool that they beat the Cubs farmhands also," said White Sox infielder Marcus Semien, who earned Southern League Most Valuable Player honors as part of Birmingham before moving to Triple-A Charlotte and then to the White Sox. "They gave us trouble right before I moved up. They are a pretty good team."
"It's always nice to win championships," said White Sox reliever Jake Petricka, who also spent time this season with the Barons.
Advanced Rookie Great Falls lost, 16-5, to Helena in Game 1 of the Pioneer League semifinal series.