White Sox's Ray Durham collapses during game

Ray Durham, Chicago's leadoff hitter and a catalyst all season for the AL Central leaders, collapsed on the field Friday night, the scariest moment in a memorable season for the White Sox.

Durham, who bruised his ribs in a home-plate collision shortly before falling face first to the ground in the third inning, returned to the Metrodome after Chicago's 5-4 win over the Minnesota Twins.

"I'm all right now, I'm just a little sore," said Durham, sitting up on a trainer's table. "All that is sore is my ribs. Everything else is OK."

Durham was conscious as he was carted off and taken to hospital. White Sox trainer Herm Schneider said Durham had X-rays and a CAT scan.

"He's fine. They couldn't find anything wrong with him," said White Sox manager Jerry Manuel. "He just happened to get dizzy. They did everything they could to check him out."

In the top of the third, Durham slid head-first into the plate to score a run. Back on the bench, he rubbed his midsection.

In the bottom half of the inning, Durham had taken warmups at second base -- he had just thrown a ball over first baseman Paul Konerko's head -- when he took a few steps toward the White Sox dugout on the first-base side and then fell to the artificial turf.

"I was running off the field and I just felt like I had heavy legs," Durham said. "It's happened before, but it was a long time ago.

"For a moment there, I was kind of out of it."

Schneider spoke with Durham's wife, mother and agents from the hospital.

"He assured them that it looks like Ray is going to be fine," said agent Ed Setlick.

The White Sox cut their magic number for winning the division to three on Paul Konerko's eighth-inning homer.

Everyone at the ball park, though, was thinking about Durham.

"Obviously, you're very concerned," Manuel said. "When I went out there, he was still kind of dazed."

Durham was rolled over on his back, and after several minutes of attention from Schneider and Twins team physician Dr. Tom Jetzer, Durham was able to sit up.

Manuel and several teammates surrounded Durham while he was down and DH Frank Thomas came out of the dugout to be with his fallen teammate.

"It was scary, but he's OK," Thomas said. "I saw a big hole in his shirt. The blow at the plate really dazed him.

"Ray's tough as nails and he got up and went back to the dugout, but he was out of it."

After Durham was lifted onto a cart and taken off the field, Schneider wrapped his arm around Durham's shoulder to cushion his head. Durham was taken by ambulance from the Metrodome to a hospital a few blocks away.

In the top of the third, Durham had stopped at third on Thomas's single to left, but then went home when left-fielder Jacque Jones's throw sailed over the heads of both catcher A.J. Pierzynski and Twins starter Brad Radke.

Radke picked the ball after it rebounded and Durham slid into Pierzynski to beat Radke's throw for a run that tied it 2-2.

"I think the impact at home plate had something to do with it," Manuel said. "He caught the guy with his ribs. He said it was sore there."

Konerko hit his 20th homer, a solo shot in the eighth off Bob Wells (0-7) to put the White Sox ahead to stay at 5-4.

Lorenzo Barcelo (4-2) got the victory in relief. Keith Foulke got his 32nd save.

Herbert Perry hit a two-run homer in the sixth to put Chicago ahead 4-3 before Matt Lawton hit a solo homer to tie it in the seventh off Mark Buehrle.

By Rick Gano