Healed or not, Paul Konerko plans to return from hand injury

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Last week White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko insisted he’d play again despite a fractured bone in his left hand that threatened to end his 18th and final season early, and sure enough now he’s making plans for a late-season comeback.

According to Scott Merkin of MLB.com “the worst-case scenario continues to be Konerko playing at some point during the final four home games of the season against the Royals.”

Of course, in reality “the worst-case scenario” probably involves Konerko not being able to play again at all, although I suppose he could always go out there with an unhealed injury just to finish his career on the field. Or as he put it:

Once I know it’s good, it’s not like I have to go through a program of building it back up. If I can hit a pitched ball, I’ll be available the next night. Or that night. There will be some discomfort, but it’s enough that I can keep on it and not have to worry about it setting me back any more.

Konerko has yet to take any swings or do any baseball-related activities, so it’s tough to gauge his progress beyond his being insistent on returning.

Report: Mike Clevinger agrees to 1-year deal with White Sox

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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CHICAGO — The Chicago White Sox bolstered their rotation, agreeing to a one-year contract with right-hander Mike Clevinger, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was subject to a successful physical.

The 31-year-old Clevinger went 7-7 with a 4.33 ERA in 23 games, including 22 starts, for San Diego this year. He missed the 2021 season after he had Tommy John surgery.

Chicago is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2022 season, when it went 81-81 and finished 11 games back of surprising AL Central champion Cleveland. Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa stepped down in October and Pedro Grifol was hired on Nov. 1.

The White Sox got a big lift from Johnny Cueto this year, but the 36-year-old right-hander is a free agent after going 8-10 with a 3.35 ERA in 25 appearances. Clevinger slots into a rotation that likely will include Dylan Cease, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Michael Kopech.

The move puts the 6-foot-4 Clevinger back in the AL Central after he made his major league debut with Cleveland in 2016. He went 42-22 with a 3.20 ERA in four-plus seasons with Cleveland before he was traded to San Diego in a multiplayer deal in August 2020.

Clevinger was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the fourth round of the 2011 amateur draft. He was traded to Cleveland in 2014.

Clevinger is 51-30 with a 3.39 ERA in 128 career big league games. He also has 694 strikeouts in 656 2/3 innings.