CLEVELAND -- With the season still young and the weather still cold, All-Star first baseman Paul Konerko will be the White Sox designated hitter on Saturday afternoon as they look to even up their series with the Cleveland Indians. The team’s usual designated hitter, Adam Dunn, will play first base in Konerko’s absence.
“With the weather and everything, for [Konerko], it’s easier to keep him loose,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of his slight lineup change. “He had mentioned it earlier in Chicago, so we will go with it today -- maybe tomorrow, I don’t know.”
Konerko, at times, feels that his approach at the plate can be impacted negatively if he is forced to lead off an inning after being sedentary in the field for any considerable amount of time. A career .283 hitter, Konerko’s batting average when leading off an inning in 2013 is .091. In 2012, these averages were .298 and .263, respectively.
In Konerko’s place, Ventura will play Dunn, a player who he feels is more than capable of filling in for the six-time All-Star as he has two other times in this young season.
“Paul has played first base more, so he’s probably better at picking balls out of the dirt and stuff like that,” Ventura said. “Adam, as big as he is, he’s athletic enough to feel comfortable over there once he’s been over there enough. In part of spring training, we had him playing over there quite a bit.”
Dunn, who can also play left field when needed, could also be called upon to fill in given that the team is carrying only four outfielders on the 25-man roster and used the roster spot vacated by Gordon Beckham (wrist) to add an arm in the bullpen.
“I think where we are at now, if we need to start moving people around, [Dunn] is the option to go out there,” Ventura said of left field. “I don’t see it being like this for a month, but right now, it works.”