CHICAGO -- Seldom-used captain Paul Konerko is set to make just his second start of the season and first at home Thursday, when the Chicago White Sox close out a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox.
Konerko, who returned for one last season at $2.5 million, made his only start this season at the Kansas City Royals on April 5. The White Sox faced left-hander Bruce Chen that day, the first time they had gone against a lefty starter.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura had two options to start Konerko in the current series with Boston and chose Thursday’s game against left-hander Jon Lester, instead of Wednesday’s game against Clay Buchholz.
Konerko hits both Red Sox lefties well. He is 7-for-15 (.467) in his career against Buchholz, with one home run and three RBIs. Against Lester, he is 10-for-25 (.400), with three home runs and seven RBIs.
Adam Dunn figures to sit Thursday while Konerko starts as the designated hitter. One possible influence on Ventura’s decision to use Dunn on Wednesday instead of Konerko is Dunn’s continuity, since the left-handed slugger hit a home run and had three walks in Tuesday’s victory over the Red Sox.
Konerko is just 1-for-8 this season with three strikeouts in his bench role. His only hit came on the first pitch he saw this season, entering as a pinch hitter on April 2.
After getting at least 460 at-bats in nine of the past 10 seasons, there figured to be a considerable adjustment period to sporadic at-bats.
“I think he’s done all right; it is an adjustment,” Ventura said. “He’s kind of playing along with the game, trying to figure out when it’s going to be the spot when you’re going to ask him to go in.
“He knows the situations he’ll be in there and he was prepared for them and he was ready for that at-bat [Tuesday night] before the [game-ending] error happened.”