(MCT) NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In an effort to preserve Paul Konerko’s freshness, manager Robin Ventura confirmed his 36-year-old cleanup hitter will fill the designated hitter role more often in 2013 with Adam Dunn making more starts at first base.
“I think that will probably happen,” Ventura said Tuesday. “For Paulie, what goes through the course of the year is a lot. It’s a lot to have him be the everyday first baseman. I think Adam proved he can play first base and give Paulie more time. And when you get to that age, not that he’s done by any means, it’s going to help him to have time off and not be on his feet so much.”
Konerko was batting .399 on May 27, but hit only .265 after that and hit only 15 home runs in the final four months. He batted only .253 in the final four weeks and .227 with six RBIs in his final two weeks. Konerko coped with a floating bone chip in his left wrist that was removed at the end of the regular season.
Konerko batted .316 in 105 games at first base and .259 in 39 games as the DH, but the 6-foot-6 Dunn, 33, possesses more range and is a bigger target at first.
Last resort: General manager Rick Hahn seemed confident that the Sox won’t have to resort to moving either left fielder Dayan Viciedo or second baseman Gordon Beckham to third.
“I don’t foresee either of those really happening in the end, but it has been discussed,” Hahn said.
Extra innings: Catcher Tyler Flowers, who underwent left hand surgery in October, has resumed his catching duties but won’t play winter ball in the Dominican Republic, agent Tom O’Connell said. ... Outfielder Blake Tekotte, acquired last month from the Padres, probably will start the season in the minors to continue to work on altering his swing, Hahn said.