Paul Konerko will not start Opening Day for White Sox
BY BRIAN SANDALOW Sun-Times Media March 30, 2014 2:59PM
Chicago White Sox's Paul Konerko (14) is congratulated by Conor Gillaspie (12) and Dayan Viciedo (24) after hitting a two-run home run during the sixth inning of a spring exhibition baseball game against Seattle Mariners, Monday, March 24, 2014, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Updated: March 30, 2014 5:27PM
Paul Konerko wouldn’t start against Ricky Nolasco in the fifth game of the season or the 20th. So that’s why he’s not starting the first.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Sunday that Konerko will not start in the team’s opener Monday against the Twins. Rookie Jose Abreu is expected to take his place at first base and Adam Dunn will be the designated hitter.
Konerko did have the option to start Monday but chose to stick to the stated plan of him being a part-timer who mostly plays against left-handers. Nolasco’s a righty, and Konerko will be on the bench and the White Sox won’t have him in their opening lineup for the first time since 1998.
“I think it’s just the way it should be,” Konerko said. “It’s just not part of the blueprint of what we’re going to do here, so no emotion. What’s right is right. That’s the way I see it.”
Konerko said if the Twins were starting a lefty he’d probably be in the lineup. And it was clear that Konerko didn’t want the token playing time.
“In talking to Paulie, it’s not an easy decision but when you go over how you’re going to do this and make it work, he made it very clear this is kind of what he signed up to do,” manager Robin Ventura said. “It’s more of respect to him that you’re not just going to put him out there just to put him out there.”
Konerko not starting seemed to take both Dunn and Chris Sale by surprise.
“I didn’t know that. I figured he’d be out there,” Sale said. “He’s probably the only person in Chicago, in the country or the world that thinks he shouldn’t be out there.”