There’s a chance Paul Konerko’s September playing time could increase, as the White Sox want to celebrate his final month in the majors.
The 16-year White Sox veteran jokes that if the White Sox try to play him too much, he might demand a trade. But all kidding aside, Konerko said Wednesday he appreciates how White Sox manager Robin Ventura has used him this season.
Konerko, who has hit five home runs and has 22 RBIs in 192 plate appearances this season, said he hasn’t once questioned his decision to return and credits Ventura for much of that.
“I caught probably as good of a manager as you could in this situation like mine coming back,” Konerko said. “He’s a guy who played for a long time and had a career that was similar. He was a good guy to play underneath because I think he understands everything that I had to go through this year and I’m still going through. He’s made it real easy for me. There’s not one thing he could do to me or not do for me, he’s good in my book forever. He definitely made this year a lot more fun for me and a lot better for me because he was the manager. Whatever he wants, I’ll do whatever he needs.”
Both Ventura and Konerko have had a strong understanding of the plan since last offseason. Konerko knew his body wasn’t capable of withstanding 162 games and only wanted to return in a limited role while Ventura made sure the veteran knew that’s all that was available with Jose Abreu and Adam Dunn on the roster. But with the White Sox out of contention and it being the captain’s final month, Ventura hinted Konerko could see additional playing time in September.
“I’m sure he’ll get a few more just for everybody’s sake,” Ventura said. “It’s important to us to have him play quite a bit in that last weekend that we’re home if he can do it, if he can pull it off. I don’t know if we’ll get all four out of him. We can get a few.”
Ventura wants rookies to play
A day after general manager Rick Hahn suggested the team’s September promotions would arrive on Sept. 2 — Triple-A Charlotte’s season ends Sept. 1 — Ventura said he doesn’t just want seat fillers.
Hahn previously said anywhere from 5-8 players could join the White Sox in September, though that was before Carlos Sanchez’s promotion.
“I don't necessarily want guys up here that are just going to come up and take room on the bench and just watch,” Ventura said. “I want them to be able to play and see what they can do up here and make some decisions in the off-season with how you go forward.
“It's their chance. … They gain something, but I don't think they gain enough of coming up here and just sitting on the bench and watching.”
Konerko said veterans have no right to protest losing playing time to rookies. Some players who could be promoted include: Josh Phegley, Marcus Semien, Carlos Rodon and Jared Mitchell.
“If we didn’t want it to get to a situation in September where they were going to be calling up young guys, putting guys in, sitting down older guys, then we should be better in the standings,” Konerko said.
— Minor-league shortstop Tim Anderson and pitcher Francellis Montas are part of a seven-player contingent headed to the Arizona Fall League. Baseball America named Anderson the top prospect in the organization in its midseason prospect guide. Also playing in Arizona will be RHP Chris Bassitt, LHP Jefferson Olacio, 1B Rangel Ravelo, C Kevan Smith and LHP Scott Snodgress.
— Ventura said the White Sox are still working through who will start the first of two games as part of Saturday’s doubleheader. Chris Sale faces Detroit in the 6:10 p.m. game though weather — rain is forecast — could affect both contests.