Paul Konerko free agency: White Sox chairman says 1B 'earned the right' to come back

Brian Kersey

The White Sox say it is Konerko's choice if he returns to the team or not.

Chicago White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf says that Paul Konerko is welcome back and that it is the first baseman's decision if he will return to the team, reports CSN Chicago.

Reinsdorf was asked whether he believed Konerko would retire or decide to stay and play at least one more season in the majors.

"I have no idea," Reinsdorf said. "It’s truly Paul’s option. He has earned the right to come back if he wants to come back. He’s been the most popular player over the last 15 years that we’ve had. … He’s basically a White Sox lifer. He’s a terrific teammate. He’s our captain and he just has to make a decision whether he wants to come back or not."

His statements echo those of general manager Rick Hahn, who said last week that the White Sox had a spot for Konerko if he wanted to return to the team.

Last year, Konerko, 37, suffered through perhaps his worst season since he was a rookie in 1998. Over 126 games, he hit .244/.313/.355 with 12 home runs. He would only have a part-time role waiting for him in Chicago. The team signed Cuban slugger Jose Abreu to take over as the starting first baseman and Adam Dunn is set to DH in 2014.

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