GLENDALE, Ariz. - At least Paul Konerko is consistent.
The team captain made his first official visit to spring camp on Friday - the first day position players were expected in - and will handle this contract year the same way he handled it heading into free agency back in 2005.
"My whole approach is to identify what I can control and can't control and know the difference of those two, and I think I do,'' Konerko said. "I've been down that road before and it's kind of simple from my end. I'm under contract. I can't do anything. I can't go anywhere. Talking about contract right now, the ball is in their court. Which is perfectly fine. I understand how the game is played. You just control what you can control. The contract stuff, that's a result at end of hard work and good play and you go after that. I've always felt that's successful since I was young, doing what you should be doing, success-wise, and all that other stuff follows. It's no different.''
Neither is his self-imposed rule about answering questions concerning his contract status. Konerko reiterated that once the regular season begins, thus ends the questions about his contract. But does that means it ends talks with the team?
"Again the ball is in their court on that front and they have the right to conduct their business how they want to do it,'' he said. "No problems there with me. As far as signing before the end of the spring or no talking during the season, every player who's ever said that [they won't talk], I think what the players mean is that they don't want it to become a distraction.
"Usually when it's a contract of any proportion and somehow someone finds out about it and it becomes a big deal, I think that's what players want to avoid and I want to avoid. I've been here long enough I've enjoyed my time here. You're always going to pick up the phone if that happens.
"They might call tomorrow, they might call in the middle of the season, they might never call. That's very possible. And if that happens, fine. That's great. We've had a great run here and again I know what I can control and I don't foresee whatever the ending is a year from now or whenever it is, being bad because I see both sides wanting to handle it the right way.''
Manager Ozzie Guillen knows ho he wants it to end.
"This isn't the first time the situation came up to him and he played real well when the first one did,'' Guillen said. "That's up to the organization, but I don't think he is the type of player that will carry it with him. I hope that situation doesn't happen, I hope I can manage him next year, but that's part of the game.''
The annual "Ozzie addresses the team for spring camp'' meeting was held on Friday, and was a bit more mellow than it was in the past. The message Guillen wanted conveyed?
"I was more calm, more relaxed. I cursed a little less,'' Guillen said. "I finished up the meeting when I said, 'Good teams win games, bad teams have meetings.' I got my point across to the players, don't just prepare to play, prepare to win. Those are two different things - when you prepare to play every day and when you prepare to win every day. I wanted to keep it on those guys' mind that we came here to win. We didn't come here just to have a season.
"They have to remember we have one goal and one goal only, and that's to go out there and win games.''