CHICAGO -- Gordon Beckham does not know baseball with the White Sox without Paul Konerko as the team's captain and Konerko serving as a mentor to the second baseman.
So Beckham wasn't about to assume anything about one of the franchise's top players being gone after this season or stepping into that leadership void himself when asked about Konerko prior to Monday night's series opener with the Tigers.
"If Paul wants to play, he'll play. Obviously, that's a decision for him after the season," Beckham said. "He's got a lot more left in the tank, so I wouldn't rule him out of playing next year. If he doesn't, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, but I think he's got a while yet.
"There's just not any reason for me to talk about that. He's the guy. He's going to be here until he's not. He's the guy who everybody's going to go to for anything."
Beckham praised Konerko's approach to each game, saying he prepares more than anybody he's ever met. Manager Robin Ventura shared the same feelings, adding that he wouldn't name another captain if Konerko wasn't back in '14.
"You have a guy that leads by example and has been a class act his whole career," Ventura said. "There are a lot of things I don't necessarily have to deal with because guys are influenced by him, just his work ethic, how he goes about his business."
"He's obviously the captain for a reason," Beckham said. "He understands the game and understands what it takes to be successful in this game. To have somebody like that around all the time, it's a positive thing for the rest of the guys here because there are a lot of younger guys playing with us now. He's always there for you if you need to talk about something baseball related."