Ventura gives ‘worn down’ Konerko day off
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org May 13, 2013 10:41PM
sox at twins
The facts: 7:10 p.m., Ch. 26, 670-AM.
The starters: Jake Peavy (4-1, 3.03) vs. Kevin Correia (4-2, 3.09).
Updated: May 14, 2013 7:34AM
MINNEAPOLIS — Paul Konerko took a rare day off against a left-hander Monday, a reminder that the White Sox’ captain is no longer 30 years old.
“Yeah, I’m a little worn down, like everybody,’’ Konerko said.
To keep him as fresh as possible, manager Robin Ventura has used Konerko as a designated hitter on artificial turf and cold days and plans regular days off for the 37-year-old.
Konerko is hitting in the clutch (.360 with runners in scoring position), but he’s batting .172 overall with one home run and five RBI in his last 16 games.
“[It’s been] a little bit of everything,’’ Konerko said. “I really can’t complain with the at-bats I’ve had lately. I’ve done what I wanted to do. It’s just finishing it off.’’
Konerko flipped his bat and was visibly frustrated after grounding out to shortstop on a fastball down the middle from the Los Angeles Angels’ C.J. Wilson on Sunday.
“That’s everybody,’’ Ventura said. “He’s frustrated with where it’s at.’’
Ventura, who played left-handed Adam Dunn at first base and right-handed Casper Wells in left field Monday, said the day off had nothing to do with Konerko’s performance.
Said Konerko: “At any point, one swing, one at-bat can turn the tide, and that’s what you got to tell yourself and that’s what you have to believe.’’
Jeff Keppinger (.187) entered Monday without a walk this season. Ventura attributes that to Keppinger — and other struggling hitters — wanting to get out of it by “hitting and not walking.’’
Ventura maintained that Keppinger’s swing looks better of late.
“I think he’s in a better spot than he was two weeks ago,’’ Ventura said.
This and that
With Steve Stone taking the first of the two series he’s off, Tom Paciorek will work the TV broadcasts with Ken Harrelson for the series against the Angels on Thursday-Sunday in Anaheim.
◆ John Danks will make at least one more minor-league start before re-joining the team, Ventura said. Not that a great need exists now to get him back. The Sox’ 3.40 ERA was second only to the Texas Rangers (3.39) through Sunday. Sox starters were 8-5 with a 2.61 ERA in the last 22 games.
◆ A day after pitching a one-hit gem, Chris Sale had to see a dentist because of an abscessed tooth.