NEW YORK -- The White Sox would prefer to talk about their prospects but have spent the last 24 hours discussing their veteran’s futures instead.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said on Wednesday he expects Adam Dunn -- who reportedly is considering retirement -- to return to the club in 2014. Ventura also isn’t sure what decision Paul Konerko will make regarding his future even though a report surfaced that the veteran has informed close friends he wants to return and believes he can be a productive player.
Though FoxSports.com reported Tuesday Dunn would consider retirement if the White Sox were to rebuild, the slugger said he still is having fun but is frustrated by the team’s losing season. Ventura believes Dunn plans to return and is venting some of the frustration of a disappointing season.
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“Apparently everybody is retiring,” Ventura said with a smile. “When you’re frustrated that probably comes up a lot, but I don’t see it happening. I don’t see Dunner going anywhere. I think 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.”
Hours after a USA Today report suggested Konerko wants to return for a 16 th season, the veteran said now isn’t the time to discuss his future. Konerko has stated all season he would wait until after the year is over to determine whether or not he returns in 2014. Asked about the report and whether he has made a decision, Konerko said “no.”
“When the time comes when I hash it all out, find out, but it’s not now,” Konerko said.
Konerko has been limited to 105 games this season as he battled a sore back in June and July and went on the disabled list for only the third time in his career. He also has dealt with other nagging injuries along the way.
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Some of those maladies may be the reason Konerko hasn’t produced the kinds of power numbers to which fans are accustomed. Konerko entered Wednesday with a .244 average, 10 home runs and 46 RBIs. The homers and RBIs would be the fewest of his career.
But Ventura has seen enough signs to think Konerko -- who has 425 homers with the Sox -- can be productive.
“He’s gotten better as of late as far as his approach and what he wants to do when he goes to the plate,” Ventura said. “He’s better off right now than he was a month ago. It’s always hard to know (if the power will return). Some years you kind of tail off and then you might get into a good spot and be able to get a little more out of it. I don’t know if I can sit here and say it’s never going to happen again.”
The White Sox don’t even know if Konerko would play here again though Dunn said on radio last month he’s 100 percent certain the first baseman would return. Konerko is a free agent at the season’s end and could choose to go elsewhere if he wants to play again.
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Konerko has said as far back as February he wouldn’t feel comfortable making a decision until he endured the entire season because of all the moving parts necessary to make such a decision.
One aspect he does consider important is his enjoyment of competition, an aspect clearly harmed by the team’s poor play. The disappointing season also has had Konerko answering more questions about his future instead of focusing on a pennant drive.
“It’s always tough to put the losing aside,” Konerko said. “But like I said a couple weeks ago and a couple weeks before that you have to come in each day and find something to get yourself going. We have a job to do. We get paid money to give what we have every night and do it right. There are a lot of people that would love to trade spots with us. We’re definitely not on the verge of clinching so obviously everything is tougher. It’s just less fun. I’ve been on teams that didn’t make the playoffs, but you competed all the way up to the last week or two or the end. That’s a better year. It keeps all the personal stuff out of the way and you just play to win every night. As far back in the standings as we are, it’s tough to play games every night that you know that probably have no effect -- other than knowing you went out and did it right.”