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MLB Roundup: White Sox' Konerko to retun for one more season

The SportsXchange

Six-time All-Star first baseman Paul Konerko has agreed to return for a 16th season with the Chicago White Sox in 2014, the team announced Wednesday.

Konerko will be in his 18th season and began his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds.

The deal is reportedly a one-year, $2.5 million contract.

Konerko, 37, hit .244 with 12 homers and 54 RBIs in 126 games last season, playing through thumb and wrist injuries.

The White Sox have a logjam with Adam Dunn and newcomer Jose Abreu limited to designated hitter and first base duty, as is Konerko. Dunn is due $15 million in 2014, the final season of his contract, and could be a trade candidate.

Konerko is the captain of the White Sox, championed as an invaluable leader by ownership and manager Robin Ventura. General manager Rick Hahn and Ventura traveled to visit Konerko in Phoenix before the GM meetings in Phoenix. Hahn said they had a long, honest conversation about where Konerko fit in the 2014 plans.

"All along we've wanted Paulie to get to the point where he was confident that he wanted to play next year and if it were with us, he was comfortable with what that role potentially would be," Hahn said.

Abreu signed a six-year, $68 million contract and could be the primary designated hitter or share the first base/DH roles with Konerko.

---The Colorado Rockies are close to a two-year contract with free-agent first baseman Justin Morneau, MLB.com reported.

Multiple media outlets reported that the potential deal is worth $13 million.

The Rockies added some flexibility to their payroll when they traded outfielder Dexter Fowler and his $7.35 million salary to the Houston Astros earlier in the day.

Morneau, 32, is expected to take over as the Rockies' starting first baseman with Todd Helton retiring.

For his career, Morneau is a .277 hitter with 221 home runs and 863 RBIs. He was the American League's Most Valuable Player in 2006.

---The New York Yankees are closing in on a deal with free agent second baseman Kelly Johnson, according to multiple reports.

The team is reportedly looking at Johnson as an insurance policy in the event it cannot reach a deal to re-sign prized free agent Robinson Cano.

Johnson, 31, can also play third base and outfield. He batted .235 with 16 home runs and a .715 OPS with the Tampa Bay Rays this year.

The New York Post reported Wednesday that the Yankees offered Johnson a one-year deal worth nearly $3 million.

The Yankees mainly view Johnson as a utility player. If they cannot sign Cano, they may pursue Omar Infante as a starting second baseman. The club reportedly wants to stick to no more than seven years and $175 million for Cano.

Infante batted .318 with 10 homers and 51 RBIs in 118 games with the Detroit Tigers this year.

---Major League Baseball announced that New York Yankees minor league catcher Ryan Baker has been suspended 50 games without pay for refusing to take an offseason drug test, which violates the minor league drug prevention and treatment program.

Baker, who is on the Class A Charleston RiverDogs' roster, will begin his suspension at the start of the 2014 season.
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