According to Dave van Dyck from the Chicago Tribune, Konerko was given the green light to begin working out in hopes of coming off the seven-day disabled list and returning this Friday for a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals. The news followed an examination at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
“Working out” does not mean that Konerko, who was batting .316 with 18 home runs and 54 RBI, can begin fielding ground balls and taking batting practice.
Per van Dyck, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said that Konerko will “probably start riding a bike and doing physical stuff. I don’t know if he will do a whole lot of baseball stuff but he will start getting some activity in to see how that goes.”
That is great news.
While Konerko has seen his batting average slide and power numbers remain nearly stagnant for some time, the Sox will welcome his production and presence in the middle of the lineup.
In van Dyck’s piece Tuesday, Ventura called him a “lead-by-example guy” and noted that “those are the things you miss.”
Ventura could not be more right.
To be sure, some of the Sox hitters have responded in Konerko’s absence. Tyler Flowers' performance against the Oakland A’s comes to mind, as does the clutch hitting of A.J. Pierzynski, Dewayne Wise and Gordon Beckham.
Has the offesive production in Konerko's absence been surprising?
Konerko, 36, stretches the White Sox order, though, and that is something they cannot afford to be without as the season continues into the stretch run. The Sox are simply a better team with Alexi Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo and Beckham rounding out the bottom of the order.
So, first and foremost, here is to Konerko’s recovery. The fact that he can begin working out a little more than a week after suffering the concussion is wonderful to hear. Concussions are dangerous and can derail careers.
Secondly, here’s to a return to the lineup.
The White Sox and their fans miss you, Paulie.