Konerko expected to return to first base this weekend

Konerko expected to return to first base this weekend

Konerko expected to return to first base this weekend

CLEVELAND -- Paul Konerko has played in 10 games since returning from the disabled list on July 22 and has served as designated hitter in every one. But manager Robin Ventura said Thursday that the White Sox captain will be back at his customary position of first base, possibly as soon as this weekend in Detroit.

"I'd like to get him back in there," said Ventura of Konerko, who had an off-day on Thursday. "I would like to get him back in the mix of playing first. When you go a stretch of not playing, it will probably take a little while to get him back in there.

"It's just more protecting his back. I was thinking about doing it here [in Cleveland], but the other night there was a little something when he was running the bases. So, it's precautionary stuff more than anything."

Konerko is 9-for-36 with a double and five RBIs since returning from a lower back strain. He has just seven homers for the season, and while Ventura believes the back issue could slightly affect his long-ball potential, he also believes that Konerko is getting close to where he wants to be.

"I know he's still tinkering with stuff. I don't think he's where he wants to be right now the way he's swinging the bat," Ventura said. "It's not as far off as you would think. There's still something there that he's working with. It'll get there."

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.