Konerko will miss Chicago as much as baseball
Injured White Sox captain plans to be back on the field for final homestand
CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko took what he termed as dry swings on Friday and was planning to hit off a tee Saturday in testing the fractured sesamoid bone in his left hand. Konerko will have just 14 games overall and four home games remaining after this weekend before retirement -- and an end to his 16-year-run with the White Sox. He plans to get back on the field prior to the finale on Sept. 28, or even Paul Konerko Day on Sept. 27.
While Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire had plenty of praise Saturday for one of the more respected players in the game, he didn't sound saddened that his Twins will no longer have to face the White Sox captain.
"We've been nicer to him than he's been to us. He's gotten plenty of home runs on us," said Gardenhire of Konerko, whose 50 career homers against the Twins are his highest total against any team. "We've added to his totals and I've had the opportunity and the pleasure to watch him trot around the bases -- I guess, if you can call it a pleasure -- a few too many times.
"He's a class act. He's been a very good baseball player over there, a clutch RBI guy, a clutch home run guy. And you know what? When you think about the Chicago White Sox, his name is going to be up there at the top. It's nice to be recognizing him and watching him get patted on the back for all those accomplishments, because he's been very, very good for the game of baseball."
Konerko spoke recently as to how nothing compares to the challenge of a 162-game baseball schedule, with his part-time role this season being easier to handle than being on the diamond for somewhere around 150 games per season. But what he'll miss even more than baseball is the city of Chicago.
"Not being able to be in this city, that's unfair, because this is a great city. I'm upset that has to go with [my retirement]," Konerko said. "I can still come back and all that stuff. But … the whole ball of wax of being here, playing and being in the city for six months at a time, it's not going to be like that anymore.
"With the family and kids, there are so many things you get connected to here -- the people, the restaurants, all that stuff. That's one thing that is probably the toughest. Maybe I'm wrong on that. Maybe I'll have a different look a month from now. But to just be done with the city of Chicago because you're done playing, that's probably the toughest thing to deal with in my mind right now. I love the house I have here. I love the neighborhood. And that's all just going to be all done."
No set plan for Abreu
• White Sox manager Robin Ventura does not have a master plan established in terms of playing time for Jose Abreu over the final 16 games this season.
"It's just day by day. You see how he's doing," Ventura said. "He wants to play, I know that. We'll just make adjustments. You still want him out there. I think he's better when he's actually out on the field playing than when he's DH-ing. There's no plan, but you talk to him every day and you come up with one."