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Konerko, Dunn caught in retirement spin cycle

Konerko, Dunn caught in retirement spin cycle

NEW YORK -- It took one simple word for Paul Konerko to address whether he had decided to come back for an 18th big league season in 2014 when asked the question prior to Wednesday's series finale at Yankee Stadium.

"No," Konerko said.

That answer was not surprising. Even with USA Today's Bob Nightengale tweeting earlier in the day that Konerko is telling friends that he definitely wants to return to the White Sox next season and feels he can be productive, Konerko has stated since Spring Training that he would address his future at the proper time.

With 24 games remaining after Wednesday, and even with the White Sox well out of contention, Sept. 4 was not the proper time. Konerko didn't even want to go as far as answering whether the team's 2013 struggles would affect his decision, a question posed to him a couple of weeks back.

"When the time comes when I hash it all out, we'll find out. But it's not now," Konerko said. "If you're worrying about the rest of this season, then you'll worry about that later on."

Konerko, 37, entered Wednesday hitting .244 with 10 homers and 46 RBIs. After battling back from a lower back strain, Konerko has hit safely in 18 of his last 26 games. He's a different hitter, according to manager Robin Ventura, but he still can be a productive one.

"He doesn't have as much power as he used to have," said Ventura. "Again, he's gotten better as of late as far as his approach and what he wants to do when he goes to the plate. He's better off right now than he was a month ago."

Designated hitter Adam Dunn truly believes Konerko will return to the White Sox in 2014, with Konerko's three-year, $37.5 million extension ending after 2013. Dunn has gone on record with that thought during a recent SiriusXM interview.

It was Dunn's turn on the retirement cycle Tuesday, when a Ken Rosenthal story on FoxSports.com quoted Dunn as stating that he will walk away from the game if he's not having fun. The crux of that story centers on comments Dunn has made previously, in that he won't play just for money or just for stats.

Dunn wants to win. So frustration in the unexpected '13 debacle could be a reason for Dunn's talk about retirement.

"Apparently everybody is retiring or some people aren't retiring," said a smiling Ventura. "When you're frustrated, that probably comes up a lot, but I don't see it happening. I don't see Dunner going anywhere. Those are just things you talk about. He's probably at a point in his career where you can bring the subject up about when is the right time, when isn't, but I fully expect him to be in Spring Training with us.

"It's getting through the rest of the year and then you can evaluate that," added Ventura of Konerko's decision. "It's going to be more of how he gets through this year and what he's feeling for him to make up his own mind."

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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