White Sox notes: Konerko returns to first base

White Sox notes: Konerko returns to first base
August 3, 2013, 5:15 pm
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By Chris Vannini
CSNChicago.com contributor

DETROIT -- For the first time since coming off the disabled list on July 22, Paul Konerko is playing first base for the White Sox on Saturday.

Konerko had been out since July 3 with a lower back strain. He played three games with Double-A Birmingham during a rehab assignment, including some time at first base, but he hasn’t played first with the White Sox since June 23.

“I haven’t played first in a while, so I’m sure there will be some (moments where) the game gets a little fast making all the movements,” Konerko said. “I’ve been taking ground balls, so I try to stay as sharp as I can, but nothing’s like the real game.

“So the first one in a while is always a little weird, but I’ll get through it and hopefully I’ll get to the point where I can play a good number in a row and give Adam (Dunn) a rest.”

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Manager Robin Ventura had mentioned earlier in the week that he wanted to get Konerko at first during this series against the Tigers. He was the designated hitter on Friday.

“I talked to him yesterday. He felt good enough to do it, so it’s getting him back in the swing of things,” Ventura said. “Last week, back-wise, you’re just trying to get him to do that. In Cleveland, he had a little something. He’s better now and able to go out there.”

Ramirez lacking power

During Alexei Ramirez’s first four seasons in Chicago, he averaged roughly 17 home runs per season. In 2012, he hit nine, and in 2013, he only has one long ball.

Through White Sox coach and translator Lino Diaz, Ramirez explained that his swing hasn’t changed, but his position in the lineup has affected what he tries to do with the ball.

“My swing is the same,” he said. “I’ve been hitting in a spot where I need to get more on base and need to be a little more in control of my at-bats, moving the runner over and things like that. So it’s a little bit different. But my swing is the same.”

Entering Saturday, Ramirez has played 72 games in the No. 2 spot in the lineup in 2013, and the one home run came in the No. 7 spot. He played 100 games in that spot in 2011, when he hit 15 home runs (nine in the No. 2 spot). From 2008-2010, he split time between the No. 2 spot and the bottom third of the lineup.

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Ramirez’s name was floating around in trade rumors, but he was not moved. Asked about those rumors, Ramirez said it was out of his control and that he’d love to spend his entire career in Chicago.

“For me, my career is here, start here and finish here in Chicago,” he said. “But whether they trade me or not, that’s outside my control, so there’s nothing I can do about that. But, for me, my career is here in Chicago.”

Wise placed on waivers

The White Sox have requested waivers on outfielder Dewayne Wise for the purpose of granting his unconditional release.

The 35-year-old has been on the disabled list since June 2 with a strained right hamstring and right oblique strain. He was hitting .234 with a home run and three RBIs in 30 games with the White Sox this season.

Ventura pointed to Jordan Danks and some other young outfielders who have filled in.

“It’s seeing what other guys can do while giving (Wise) the shot to go do something else, too,” he said.