By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) White Sox captain Paul Konerko has seen just about everything on and off the field in his 15 years in Chicago, but projecting results in 2014 would be a tough call for even a guy who has seen it all.
“A lot of guys understand that there is a lot at stake to do well from a career standpoint,” Konerko said. “The (Adam) Eatons of the world, (Avisail) Garcia and all the young talented guys know this is there time to make it happen.”
“I don ‘t really think you can get a handle on anything usually until June. I have a sense that if we don’t kill ourselves early and get off OK, we will be better as we go. These guys will get stronger and will be learning more.”
Konerko has his mind in a good place knowing he could get anywhere from 250 to 450 at-bats in 2014.
“Being ready is not something you have to worry about with me,” Konerko said. “The key for me is doing everything well.”
As Konerko enters his final season, the White Sox icon has picked the brain of numerous players who had to adjust to less playing time at the end of their careers.
“I talked to Jim (Thome ) a lot,” he said. “I asked how he liked to approach the game at this level. In other words, what are the three days like from a work standpoint if you don’t play? He agreed everybody is different but said at the end of the day it is baseball and you already know how to do that.”
Konerko takes his clubhouse leadership role as seriously as ever.
“We are all getting more focused for the season, and things that come with 162-game schedule,” Konerko said. “It is that time now.”
The 36-year-old Konerko will retire after 2014 regardless of the results. Life after that will be about family.
“That is number one, I am a husband and father,” Konerko said. “Baseball will not be a part of my daily life. I will still watch it and enjoy, it but my activity in it will come to a close.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.