By Bruce Levine-
GLENDALE, Ariz. (CBS) — Paul Konerko has one thought on opening the season in the chilly Midwest, as the White Sox do Monday at home against the Twins.
“It just sucks,” Konerko said as he looks forward to his 16th home opener, all with the White Sox. “Really there is no other way to describe it. There is no good thing about cold weather at all. Baseball is not meant to be played in cold weather.”
Early in the season, pitchers seem to have the edge over hitters in the cold-weather cities, and Konerko said it’s about just staying within yourself when looking for success.
“You just have to get through April and May,” said Konerko, who has announced he’ll retire at season’s end. “You have too really scrap and grind. You cannot try to get big (hit home runs) — that is the only advice to any of our hitters from the years I have here. Resist the urge to try and get big.”
Konerko also downplayed his role on Opening Day. The iconic White Sox player will be platooned with Adam Dunn in the designated hitter role this season, but manager Robin Ventura hasn’t decided who he will use on Opening Day. Ventura said he is contemplating using the right-handed Konerko over the lefty-swinging Dunn at DH for the opener despite the fact that Twins starter Ricky Nolasco is a righty.
“I haven’t talked to (Ventura),” Konerko said. “I would think I would not (start) going off of the matchups and stuff. I will be ready for anything.
“It doesn’t matter,” Konerko added when ask if it mattered if he was in the Opening Day lineup in his final season. “The plan (to platoon) is the plan … It is not really meaningful to me. The main thing is the game is what matters. It counts, and you want to get going right off the bat.”
Ventura said he would make up his mind on playing Konerko or Dunn soon.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.