ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Although he hasn’t been himself, Paul Konerko hasn’t shown the outward signs his career is coming to an end, manager Robin Ventura said.
Ventura knows the White Sox first baseman must be frustrated by a slow start that includes a .231 average, four homers and 17 RBIs after the team’s first 41 games. But Ventura also saw positive signs from Konerko on Saturday, when he had his first three-hit game of the season. Ventura also said he doesn’t see any signs Konerko’s bat speed has slowed down.
“There’s not an alarm that goes off from just watching him swing,” Ventura said. “You are thinking it’s not it. Part of it comes from, I don’t even know if it’s a standard. He knows what he should kind of be doing hitting wise. You get angry with yourself when you go through that and you want to do more. But again, you hit a day like (Saturday), where he realizes the way it feels when he does it. He knew that swing and the feeling of it as a positive step in the right direction of getting his swing to where he wants it.”
Ventura thinks Konerko’s struggles -- he’s 17-for-81 with a homer and six RBIs over 20 games -- are more related to pitch selection than bat speed.
“He has the mechanics, he has the ability to get the bat through the zone,” Ventura said. “In the end it’s going to be pitch selection and how you attack it.”
Even though Konerko has 426 career homers, Ventura also doesn’t want the veteran to typecast himself as a power hitter: he just wants Konerko to hit the ball hard.
“I don’t want it to be an all-or-nothing thing that he has got to start forcing himself to do,” Ventura said. “Be the hitter you and be a tough out or at-bat and the rest will take care of itself.”
Decisions on Danks, Beckham could be soon
John Danks made his fourth rehab start on Saturday night and continues to progress while Gordon Beckham’s first game was a success.
Both played at Triple-A Charlotte.
Danks allowed three runs (two earned) and two hits while walking four batters and hitting two more over 4 2/3 innings. He struck out five.
[Watch: Hector Santiago on his start Saturday]
Beckham, who had surgery to repair a broken left hamate bone on April 16, went 2-for-4 with three runs scored. He’s also already 3-for-4 through 5 1/2 innings on Sunday afternoon.
Ventura said a decision on when Danks returns to the rotation won’t be made until after everyone meets in Chicago, perhaps early this week. He also said Danks has had no setbacks as he returns from shoulder surgery last August.
As for Beckham, Ventura thinks it could be a quick rehab.
“It’s more the physical stuff for him getting back right now,” Ventura said. “ He’s been around. It’s not like a guy who goes to the offseason and comes back. Gordon is still running around and doing stuff so he still kind of has the eyes and the timing of it, so I think his will progress a little quicker.”
Infielder Angel Sanchez (sore back) has also been on rehab at Charlotte. Through Saturday, Sanchez is 4-for-14 with two RBIs and five runs.
Donnie Veal’s return to the White Sox on Saturday, when he allowed four earned runs, didn’t go as planned. Even so, Veal believes he’s better prepared to pitch in the majors this time around.
[More: Bullpen implodes as White Sox fall to Angels]
Most of Veal’s issues Saturday were related to his fastball. When he was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte on May 1, the message was to improve the curveball.
“Mainly just get it back to where it was last year,” Veal said. “Obviously, just get ahead period. I was falling behind some hitters. We worked on that. I worked with (pitching coach Richard Dotson). Dot is awesome. Got that ironed out. … Obviously not the way you want to jump back. Everything was going good before that. Just let it go and keep moving forward and progressing.”