For the first time since 2000, Paul Konerko won't play first base for the White Sox on Opening Day -- and he won't be in the team's Opening Day lineup for the first time since 1998, when he was still a member of the Dodgers.
Instead, Jose Abreu will start at first base on Monday in his first major league game. While he's not keeping Konerko out of the lineup -- if Konerko were to play, it'd likely be in place of Adam Dunn -- there is some added significance to someone else starting at first base. Especially when that someone else has a six-year contract.
"There’s no pressure at all," Abreu said through a translator. "Like I said before I’m not here to prove anything. I’m just going to do my best and I will help the team in that regards, but there’s really no pressure."
Abreu said he's enjoyed getting to know Konerko over the last month and a half, and said it meant a lot to him when Konerko came up to him in the strength and conditioning room at U.S. Cellular Field Sunday and offered his support. And Abreu's already picked up on some of Konerko's ways.
"I learned to be a better person, to work efficiently in the areas of need," Abreu said. "So those are some of the things that I am thankful to Paul Konerko (for)."