Konerko ready to take on increased role

Konerko ready to take on increased role

HOUSTON -- The playing time will change for White Sox captain Paul Konerko over the next two weeks, with first baseman Jose Abreu placed on the disabled list Sunday due to posterior tibial tendinitis in his left ankle.

Konerko's day-to-day focus as part of part-time playing preparation up to this point of the season will not be adjusted.

"You just react to what's there. I don't look at it any more than that," Konerko said. "I don't know how else to say it. Whatever they ask me to do, I'll do. I'll do my best at it, and that's it. It's pretty simple. Whatever they need, I'll do. If it's play, play. If not, I'll be ready to pinch-hit."

"That's part of signing up to do what you do, you get thrust into this," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Konerko. "He's not concerned about it. He's prepared to go in. It's not an unusual situation for him. It's different than the role he just had for the start of the season."

In his 16th and final season with the White Sox, Konerko had 48 at-bats through 24 games played entering Sunday. He knew in coming back for this final season exactly what his role would be, and he has embraced the part-time playing, full-time mentoring task placed in front of him.

Basically, there was no agenda for the franchise's all-time leader in total bases coming into the season. And splitting time with Adam Dunn between first base and designated hitter won't change that thought process for the veteran with 435 career homers.

"I know the role was to expect the unexpected, to be ready at all times -- whether that be in the middle of the game like yesterday, the end of the game, the start of the game," Konerko said. "I was pretty dialed into that, and still am.

"If they want me to play some now because Jose's out, I'll try to hold the fort until he gets back. I don't have a plan other than just to be ready."

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.