2/25/2014 6:36 P.M. ET
Konerko taking starter's mindset into part-time role
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Based on Paul Konerko's intrasquad showing Tuesday on a Camelback Ranch back field, the White Sox captain is primed for solid production during his 16th and final year with the organization.
Of course, absolutely nothing can be based on intrasquad results. The line single to left and the ground ball past third baseman Matt Davidson simply represented the expected change of pace from workouts to game action.
"It's just one of those where every year it's the same thing. You just have to get in there and start hitting off pitching," Konerko said. "There is no real easy way of doing it. You can sit there and take BP every day, you can do the pitchers' batting practice, and just like the game on Friday, everything just gets heightened as you go.
"I think the weather, it's a little warmer now than it is usually, so that makes you feel a little better and makes it feel real. Barring injury, there is no bad day out there. Even your first couple weeks of Spring Training, it's trying to get your work in, get your reps and just try to be moving forward on what you're working on."
Konerko always talks about a team having to play into June or even July before a true feel about its direction can be derived. But from the early going at camp, the veteran sees a hungriness among young White Sox players to be good, set themselves up for life and establish themselves as players.
That same attitude sparked Konerko, who feels healthy and ready to take on his final season -- even in a part-time role.
"Yeah, I don't feel like there is anything that … a certain ball that I can't hit or this pitch or that pitch. I feel like I can do the same thing I have always done," Konerko said. "The question is always as you get older is the volume of it.
"And that's probably where I would lack. I have lacked -- the evidence would say that. I feel like I still could hit a good fastball but in baseball, it's not just a single act of doing something, hitting the ball far over the fence. It's a matter of doing it every day. When you get older, that's where the rub is.
"A starting player to me is 150-something games, not 130, not 120," Konerko said. "That's a starting player. That is beyond me now. It is, I would say. But that doesn't mean in the games I play I can't have the same actions of when I did play as many games like that, or like I say, with that mindset that I'm showing up to play 162. I hope that's how the young guys approach it."
Abreu looks comfortable in game situation
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In two at-bats during Tuesday's intrasquad game, Jose Abreu picked up an infield hit on a slow roller to third. Abreu and the White Sox probably expect more of a power-packed connection in the future, but that single was a good start in the first baseman's mind.
"That was God helping me out with that," said a smiling Abreu through White Sox coach and translator Lino Diaz. "As long as I help the team, I'll take 100 of those."
Abreu's Spring Training goals are simple: watch a great deal of live pitching, and take his development at-bat by at-bat. The big man also looked smooth over at first base defensively, which was not a surprise to manager Robin Ventura.
"A lot has been made of him moving around, but he's played first base before," said Ventura. "I think he's a good first baseman. He's got good hands, knows what to do with the ball when it's hit to him. So, I didn't see anything that made me take a double-take. Just let him play."
Dunn wary of impact of new collision rule
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Adam Dunn readily admits to not knowing the nuts and bolts of experimental rule 7.13 prohibiting egregious collisions at home plate. Yet, Dunn doesn't particularly like what he has heard, and thinks it will impact the game negatively.
"It's going to be pretty difficult rounding third and not only trying to find where the ball is but also looking for your lane to slide. It'll be interesting," Dunn said. "I don't have shin guards and a chest protector and a face mask. I didn't realize that was that big of a problem for catchers' concussions. I always thought it was foul balls off the face and not collisions. Maybe I'm wrong.
"I see leg [injuries]. Finger. Guys are going to have to slide more, so they're probably going to do a lot more headfirst sliding. It's only been that way 100-something years."
Dunn believes more players will pull up and be tagged out by catchers because of not fully knowing if they can run into the catcher to score, although there will be training material distributed during Spring Training. The less-than-fleet-footed Dunn also feels the rule changes mean more pinch-running where he's involved.
"Especially when I was on second and got pinch-run for, I'll always tell [manaager] Robin [Ventura], 'Ball might beat me, but I've got a decent chance of scoring still,'" said Dunn, referring to being able to use his size to run through a catcher. "I can see myself getting pinch-run for quite a bit more. I'm pretty much useless."
Paul Konerko joked that he was held at third on Josh Phegley's double during intrasquad action Tuesday because the White Sox weren't quite sure yet on the collision rules. In reality, Konerko feels bad for the umpires on the judgment calls.
"It's like the rule when a guy they feel is throwing intentionally at somebody, they have to throw him out," Konerko said. "It's tough sometimes when the ump has to call balls and strikes and say, 'Is that a cutter, a fastball, do I have to call this guy out?' We'll have to wait and see. I'm guessing the reaction most times will be in favor of the catcher."
Lindstrom likes closing options
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The eventual White Sox closer certainly won't be chosen by his ability to close out Cactus League games. Not with the hurlers destined for the active roster usually working earlier in the game to face big league hitters.
Matt Lindstrom, one of the prime closing candidates, believes the White Sox have the arms in camp to not only solidly fill out the ninth but the seventh and eighth as well. It's about preparation leading to the choice in his mind.
"Just getting your progression of your throwing program and your arm strength up," Lindstrom said. "I still think that April is almost the time when you are still not all the way there where you need to be.
"Everyone, especially pitchers, we are trying to get our bodies to the point where they are peaking at the right time and maintain through the season. We have the candidates in-house to do it. We have a lot of good arms in here. It should be interesting to see."
Third to first
• White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf celebrated his 78th birthday on Tuesday.
• The White Sox are expected to make an announcement this week concerning their alternate jerseys for 2014. The team made a popular choice of the 1983 team last season.
• Dunn has not made a decision on attending the Academy Awards Sunday night. He had a small part in the movie Dallas Buyers Club and invested in the production company that made the movie.
• Chris Beck earned solid reviews from Ventura for his two scoreless innings during Tuesday's intrasquad game. Avisail Garcia added a two-run homer off of Scott Snodgress, who struck out three.
• Konerko has noticed the big physical size of teammates such as Abreu and Garcia, to name a few.
"No predictions, but I feel good in a bench clearer," said Konerko with a laugh. "I don't know if we'll win, but I don't feel like we'll get it taken to us."