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Paul Konerko: “The right moves have been made here”

Paul Konerko: “The right moves have been made here”
March 12, 2012 – 8:00 am by Chris Fedor
Going into last season there were high expectations for the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central. Unfortunately for the South Siders things didn’t go according to plan. After a season where they finished under .500 and 16 games back of the first place Tigers, the White Sox decided to make some changes and the roster will have a whole new look to it in 2012. Some of the notable veterans are still on the roster, mainly Paul Konerko, but the vets have to be wondering when the team will be a threat in the AL Central again? Not only did the Sox part ways with the leader of the pitching staff, Mark Buehrle, but the Sox also took a huge risk by replacing Ozzie Guillen with first-time manager Robin Ventura. Konerko tried his best to temper expectations a week ago and the team will be relying on a number of young players to take Chicago into a new era.
Paul Konerko joined ESPN 1000 in Chicago with Carmen, Jurko, and Harry to talk about how different the team is without Mark Buehrle, what he heard about possibly being made the player/coach of the Sox, what the difference is so far between Ozzie Guillen and Robin Ventura, if he would like to be the everyday first baseman of the White Sox, and gives his expectations for the season.
How different the team is without Mark Buehrle:
“Yeah it’s different. Definitely weird not seeing him around and can’t say I like it. I wish he was still around but you guys know how it goes, you love the game and sometimes you hate the business so that’s the moral of that story I guess.”
What he heard about possibly being made the player/coach of the Sox:
“I heard after the fact and I didn’t hear it from Kenny (Williams), just some people. I got some texts and messages that weren’t adding up and I had no idea how to connect the dots. I found out about it and I don’t know. I don’t know if that was really true but I’m definitely flattered if he thought about it. I guess the way I was looking at it was when Robin was hired there were a lot of people saying he’s never managed or never coached. Then you say this is the other option and he looks like a hell of a coach.”
What differences he sees in Robin Ventura compared to Ozzie Guillen:
“At this point because it is so early the only thing that I can tell differently is there is a little more work in this camp so far, little more time on the field, and the drills are not so much different drills, but just a little more attention to detail and just kind of doing them more and that’s fine. I mean you can’t really reinvent too much as far as Spring Training. A little bit more of when a play is not made it’s not just keep the rotation going on to the next guy, it’s stop, this guy is doing it over again. Just a little bit more heat in those drills and that’s probably a good thing.”
If he plans on playing first base everyday:
“For me in the offseason I prepare to play first everyday, which means 145 or 150 plus games at first base so if they tell me I have to do something else or DH more I can always take a step back from that. As far as what they’re going to do, haven’t really talked too much about it yet and my guess is it will be a little more of a combination and it doesn’t really matter to me and I think I can play first, I think I can do the job out there and at the same time I don’t think Adam (Dunn) or I are going to be wearing any Gold Gloves anytime soon. It’s kind of like whatever, if they see fit that he plays a little bit more times or vice versa, I got a chance, when I got hit in the knee last year, I DH’d for about a month straight and you got a little handle on that. Up until then I just kind of dabbled in it here and there and DH one or two games and then wouldn’t see it again for a week. I got a feel for it so if it needs to happen more that is fine. Really whatever makes it tick better, I’m up for it. I’m ready to play first everyday but if they tell me to do something else that’s fine too.”
On the expectations for the team this season:
“I think with our team, I said it last week, but I think with the changes that have been made, when the decisions were made to go younger and have more guys on the field and in the lineup, in the bullpen, I think you kind of have to change your thinking a little bit. Of course making the playoffs is definitely successful and that’s something you want to do and winning the World Series is the most successful thing you can do. I just think that this team shouldn’t be an either or situation. Most of the year’s I’ve been in Chicago it’s been that way where there are no bright spots. You either make the playoffs or it’s a complete failure. That’s a good thing because that shows, especially with Kenny’s time here, which has been most of my time here, that’s the rosters and the teams that have been put together and the way they’ve gone after it. I think that’s unfair to hang that on a bunch of the young guys in the lineup who are in the lineup everyday that are still kind of finding their way and in the bullpen and so. That’s doesn’t mean any less effort is given or anything like that. I think we’re going to make it hard on people but I just think it is unfair that hopefully as we go through the season, my goal is we’re going to start off Opening Day playing a meaningful game, a game that you’re still in something and I want to see how long we can do that. Let’s just try to have small goals and everybody develop and the staff is great. Let’s just see how good we can get and see where that ends up.”
Listen to Paul Konerko on ESPN Chicago here
Tags: Chicago White Sox, ESPN Radio Chicago, MLB, Paul Konerko

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