White Sox All-Stars defend teammates

Updated: July 11, 2011, 10:51 PM ET
By Bruce Levine | ESPNChicago.com

PHOENIX -- Placing the blame on struggling Adam Dunn and Alex Rios for the Chicago White Sox's mediocre first half doesn't sit well with All-Stars Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin.

"These are my teammates," Quentin said. "I see these guys every day. I see what they go through. I see their work ethic and I see what they have to go through on a daily basis. I've been that guy. Every (All-Star) in this room has felt that way at different times. Every one of them has felt that they hadn't contributed enough. It's not a good feeling. But it's baseball, and things change quickly."

Dunn, who is making $14 million in the first year of a $56 million contract, and Rios, who is making $12 million in 2011, have been the focal point of the Sox's offensive woes in the first half.

Konerko said that only the people inside the White Sox clubhouse know what really is going on with the team's struggling players.

"As a player, you have to expect (slumps) as part of your job," Konerko said. "I think you have to expect that. That with your job, it brings you scrutiny and all the stuff that goes with that. With all the good things that come with it, there are a lot of bad, and every player at some point is going to have to deal with that."

While the fans and the media can be quick to criticize, Konerko believes that players have a different perspective when it comes to a slumping team.

"As a player, you can take offense to (public scrutiny), but when it's people on the outside who say, 'The team's five games under .500 and it's all two guys' fault', that's ridiculous. There's many smaller situations that go into it. Lots of other things you can point to for losses, where you can easily say those (two) guys had nothing to do with it."

Although Dunn has been Public Enemy No. 1, Rios' numbers aren't much better.

Dunn is batting .160 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs. He has struck out 117 times but still has a .292 OBP. Rios is hitting .213 with six home runs and 21 RBIs. His OPB is lower than Dunn's at .262.

The Sox's 44-48 record puts them in third place in the AL Central, five games behind the first-place Detroit Tigers. The White Sox haven't been above .500 since late April.

"We are all in it together," Konerko said. "The pitchers, the position players. It's not about one guy. A lot of people just look at the big names and say, 'that's the problem.' That just isn't right."

Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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