CHICAGO (AP) — Paul Konerko will likely be watching from the bench for the start of what figures to be his 16th and final opening day with the Chicago White Sox
And the 38-year-old first baseman is comfortable with that decision, which ends a streak of 15 consecutive opening-day starts.
Konerko's new role is as a right-handed-hitting platoon player at designated hitter. With Minnesota starting right-hander Ricky Nolasco, left-handed-hitting Adam Dunn will start.
"I just think it's the way it should be," Konerko said Sunday as both teams conducted voluntary workouts. "It's just not part of the blueprint of what we're going to do here. ... It's pretty simple. There's a plan and roles of when guys play and when they don't."
A six-time All-Star, Konerko agreed in December to a $2.5 million, one-year contract. White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Konerko made the choice to stay with the platoon.
"In talking to Paulie, it's not an easy decision," Ventura said, "but when you go over how you're going to do this and make this work, he made it clear this is kind of what he signed up to do."
Left-hander Chris Sale starts for the White Sox. He was surprised by Konerko's decision but said he respected it.
"I think he should be out there," Sale said. "What he's done for this city, what he's done for this team, who he's been throughout his career, I think he's earned that. But what he says, goes."
Starting his second White Sox opener, Sale faces Nolasco in only the third time opening-day meeting between the teams and the first since 1993.
After a lengthy and severe Chicago winter, Monday's forecast calls for partly sunny skies and a 65-degree temperature.
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