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Konerko handling life in reserve

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CHICAGO -- Count Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski as another person happy to see Paul Konerko, his friend and teammate of eight seasons, go out on his own terms. It's just strange for Pierzynski to see the White Sox captain with only one start and eight at-bats entering Wednesday.

"That's the Paul I know and the Paul I played with and that's the Paul I think most people remember," said Pierzynski of Konerko, the everyday stalwart. "But to look up and not see him in the lineup, look at the lineup today and no Konerko, it's still odd to me.

"Normally right now he would have 30 or 40 at-bats and a couple of homers and a bunch of RBIs and no stolen bases. Paul knew what he was getting himself into coming in. We talked this offseason a bunch of times about what he should do, and I told him absolutely he should come back.

"He deserves to come back, not only for himself but to enjoy one year," Pierzynski said. "If they aren't going to give him the opportunity to play, then heck, he can enjoy it a little bit more. It's a lot more relaxing if he knows he's not playing every day."

Manager Robin Ventura smiled and said there was nothing he had to talk with Konerko about in regard to being a captain, because "he's pretty good at it." Konerko is learning the part-time playing situation as he goes.

"It is an adjustment," Ventura said. "He's kind of playing along with the game trying to figure out when it's going to be the spot when you're going to ask him to go in. As far as in-game stuff, he knows the situations he'll be in there and he was prepared for them."

Ventura mentioned that Konerko would have pinch-hit for Conor Gillaspie in the ninth inning Tuesday night against Chris Capuano if not for the game-ending error. Konerko was ready to hit, just as he'll be ready to start Thursday in the series finale against Jon Lester.

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

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