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Retiring Konerko will play more in September

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Aug 28 2014 03:47:45 AM CDT
Updated On: Aug 28 2014 10:43:28 AM CDT
Baseball home plate


CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko is probably going to get a few more at-bats in September than he has gotten in the first five months of the season.

The reason is simple: Konerko, who has played 18 years, will retire after this season. He has become a bit of a legend in Chicago White Sox lore, playing a key role in the 2005 World Series championship and putting up impressive career numbers, so he'll likely get a few extra trips to the plate just so fans have more chances to see him.

"We'll see some lefties in there, but I'm sure he'll get a few more (at-bats) just for everybody's sake," manager Robin Ventura said. "It's important to us to have him play quite a bit in that last weekend that we're home (against the Kansas City Royals), if he can do it. If he can pull it off. ... I don't know if we'll get all four out of him. We can get a few."

Konerko, 38, pinch-hit and went 0-for-1 Wednesday night in a 3-2 win against the Cleveland Indians. He has gotten used to having some extended time off between his appearances, but he has no problem doing whatever is asked of him in the final month.

"I'm here to do whatever Robin wants," Konerko said. "I'm just here to serve really. I have no expectations one way or the other. That's kind of been me (this year). As soon as I signed to come back, it's just, 'Whatever you need me for.' You want me to play? I'll play. You want me to sit for a week, I'll sit for a week. I'll do whatever I can to help."

His flexible attitude stems from his personality, but also from the way his situation has been handled this season by the White Sox, particularly Ventura. Konerko said he's learned a lot about the game from a coaching aspect from watching alongside the team's coaching staff and he considers it invaluable experience.

He still doesn't think he'll go into coaching after his playing career, but it's good knowledge to have in case he does go down that path. Konerko feels indebted to Ventura and general manager Rick Hahn for the way this season has gone.

"Whatever Robin wants to do or Rick or the team, whatever they want to do (in September), it's right," Konerko said. "There's no discussion on it. It's impossible to offend me. It really is."

Still, his dry sense of humor couldn't be entirely suppressed.

"If they play me too much, I might demand a trade," Konerko joked. "I don't think that's going to be a problem. Listen, this has all been good. The whole thing, there's no expectation on my part. I don't want anybody out there trying to make those guys feel uncomfortable. Robin has been ... I caught probably as good of a manager as you could in this situation like mine coming back. He's made it real easy for me."


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