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posted: 11/13/2013 12:01 AM

Sox have a spot for Konerko if he wants it

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  • Did Paul Konerko wave his final goodbyes to the White Sox faithful this summer? General manager Rick Hahn says the team has a spot for him in 2014 if he wants it.

    Did Paul Konerko wave his final goodbyes to the White Sox faithful this summer? General manager Rick Hahn says the team has a spot for him in 2014 if he wants it.
    Associated Press


The ball, apparently, is in Paul Konerko's court.

At the general managers and owners meetings in Orlando Tuesday, White Sox GM Rick Hahn told reporters Konerko is welcome back in 2014, which would be the longtime captain's final season before retirement.

Konerko did not reply to a Daily Herald interview request later on Tuesday.

Hahn and manager Robin Ventura reportedly met with Konerko last week at his off-season home in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"We had a real good open and honest conversation about where his mind is at and his hopes for going forward, and a good talk about the club and our hopes for moving forward," Hahn said. "At this time, he's still going through his process of deliberating about what he wants to do next year. All along, we've wanted Paulie to get to the point where he was confident that he wanted to play next year and if it were with us, he was comfortable with what that role potentially would be.

"He's not quite to that point yet where he's ready to make the call about his own future. After he does, then we'll have another conversation."

Slowed by a sore lower back last season, Konerko was limited to 126 games and he batted .244 with career lows in home runs (12) and RBI (54).

Judging by his comments on the final weekend of last season, don't be surprised if Konerko is back for his 16th year in a Sox uniform, even if it's in a reserve role.

"You only get to go through these kinds of things once, a career once, so you try to rely on advice from other people," Konerko said when talking about possibly calling it quits. "You try to talk to the people who have been through it. The majority of them are always, 'If you can play, play. Do it the way you want to do it. Go back to the drawing board. Go get 'em.' And I get all of that.

"The other side of it is, this is how careers are supposed to end. Not everybody gets to do it exactly how they want to do it. So I can see it in both directions. I can tell you more of me is the first one. And the advice I get is more the first scenario, but that doesn't mean it's right either."

With Jose Abreu on board as the White Sox' new starting first baseman, Konerko would likely spend most of the 2014 platooning with Adam Dunn at designated hitter, assuming he comes back.

"If I come back here, production can be done in a lot of different ways," Konerko said. "It's not always just driving in runs and hitting home runs. I've got to be better, if I'm going to come back, at working with the young guys and be better to them and be not so much consumed like I was 10 years ago."

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