December 19, 2014
NEW YORK — Sox captain Paul Konerko, who will retire after the season, was honored by the Yankees on Sunday before he played his final game in New York. Konerko said it was the highlight of his season.
‘‘The first game I ever went to as a kid was at Yankee Stadium, when I was 6 years old,’’ said Konerko, who was born in Providence, Rhode Island. ‘‘The fact that I’m getting a gift for something I did on the field in all the time between that and now is mind-boggling.’’
Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who also is retiring after the season, presented Konerko with a base signed by the team.
‘‘A classy move by them,’’ Konerko said. ‘‘You don’t expect it. And to have Derek out there as the guy giving it to me, that’s pretty cool.’’
Jeter (20 years starting in 1995) and Konerko (16 starting in 1999) are the longest-tenured active players with their current teams.
In his career against the Yankees, Konerko batted .306 with 23 home runs and 65 RBI. At Yankee Stadium, he batted .323 with 12 homers and 36 RBI. He was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the Sox’ 7-4 loss in 10 innings Sunday.
Konerko, the Sox’ all-time leader in total bases and No. 2 behind Hall of Famer Frank Thomas in home runs and RBI, has been used as a designated hitter against left-handers, a part-time first baseman and a pinch hitter this season.
‘‘He’s gotten to the point to kind of enjoy it,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘He’s more of a motivational guy as far as talking to the young guys on the difficulties of playing every day in the big leagues.
‘‘He’s been a perfect example of that.’’
This and that
Left-hander Chris Sale gave up an RBI to a left-handed hitter for the first time since last August when Ichiro Suzuki singled in two runs in the sixth inning.
† Carlos Rodon allowed one run and one hit, struck out eight and walked two in four innings in his second start for Class AAA Charlotte. The No. 3 overall pick in the June draft, who might be on target for a promotion to the Sox in September, yielded one run in three innings in his first start.