A rare back-to-back relax for Konerko
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org May 14, 2013 11:10PM
Chicago White Sox v Texas Rangers
sox at twins
The facts: 12:10 p.m., Ch. 9, 670-AM.
The starters: Dylan Axelrod (0-3, 4.17 ERA) vs. Mike Pelfrey (3-3, 6.03).
Updated: June 16, 2013 6:44AM
MINNEAPOLIS — Sometimes, one day is not enough. Robin Ventura learned while playing for Joe Torre that a multi-day break can do wonders for cleaning out the system and re-fueling the tank, so the White Sox manager gave captain Paul Konerko his second day off in a row Tuesday night.
When Konerko was given Monday off, Ventura told him he might go back-to-back, so Konerko wasn’t surprised to see Adam Dunn playing first base and Dayan Viciedo at designated hitter for a second consecutive night.
“That’s for him to decide,’’ Konerko said. “I came in ready to play, but it didn’t surprise me.’’
For any longtime Sox follower who has watched the franchise’s No. 2 home run hitter and RBI man of all time play through aches, pains and minor injuries over the years, a second consecutive Konerko sit-down is a surprise. Ventura, though, sees two things in this: A veteran approaching the twilight of his career who will need more rest than he has in the past and an intense leader who has the desire but not the ability to carry a team without a single .300 hitter on his back.
“We have a few of those guys that are like that; he’s no different,’’ Ventura said. “He wants to shoulder the load and do a lot of different things. But you can only stay within yourself and do what you need to do instead of doing the bulk of it for anybody. Nobody on our team can hit a five-run homer.’’
Konerko is batting .214 with four homers and 16 RBI. In his last 16 games, he’s batting .172 with one homer and five RBI. Ventura said Konerko’s bat speed is normal.
‘‘Yeah, you don’t see anything you would think would be alarming,’’ he said. “He looks like the guy we had last year.
“The way he’s been feeling, there’s nothing wrong with giving him two days off just to kind of reboot and feel better. It’s happened to other guys and when you feel that way, and you’re a little bit older, sometimes it’s better to kind of take a step back, get back in there tomorrow.’’
Konerko said he feels OK and has no unusual health issues.
“Other than the grind of the season, no,’’ he said. “You have the usual stuff but nothing I’m getting treatment on or anything like that.”
Konerko said everything feels normal at the plate. The problem of late, he said, is “I’m just not finishing things off.’’
“We have a long season to go here. I’m not really worried about what is going to work or what could happen. I’m just trying to deal with what I’m doing today and, if I’m not playing, what can I do to get better for tomorrow.’’