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Konerko an option to join Team USA

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Paul Konerko has never played in the World Baseball Classic, but that may change.

First baseman Mark Teixeira is out of the competition because of a strained right wrist that he sustained taking swings in the batting cage at Camelback Ranch on Tuesday. White Sox manager Robin Ventura acknowledged that Team USA manager Joe Torre mentioned Konerko as one of the replacement possibilities in conversation during the course of the two teams playing their scheduled exhibition game.

Ventura has no concerns about Konerko playing in the World Baseball Classic, with Team USA beginning competition Friday night at Chase Field. It's more about getting ready for the season in the context of leaving White Sox camp and joining the international action.

"If he's ready to go and play, it's his decision," Ventura said. "Again, he's been around long enough to know if it's going to help him or hurt him to be ready for the season.

"It's going to be up to him whether he feels he's even ready right now. I don't think the mindset was there that he was going to play in it. We'll see."

Konerko went 3-for-3 in Tuesday's 4-4 tie on his 37th birthday, and certainly is deserving of this selection as still one of the more underrated standouts in the game. If Team USA advanced, they would play in Miami and potentially San Francisco for the championship round.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"event":["spring_training" ] }
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