The question has been looming over Paul Konerko the entire season but with three games left to play in 2013 the White Sox captain wasn't yet ready to provide an answer.

The player general manager Rick Hahn said has become "the face of the franchise" will take a month away from a trying season to decide whether he will return to play in 2014 or retire after 17 years in the major leagues 15 with the Sox.

"I could go fish out 20 guys in that clubhouse that don't feel like playing a baseball game right now and I'm probably right there with them" Konerko said. "But how much of that is real? Because I guarantee you as November clicks in December they're going to want to play again and so will I. But I'm in a different situation. I have to figure out of it's really real if that's something I want to do. I don't know that answer right now."

In a 23-minute session with the media Friday in the dugout before the Sox's game against the Royals at U.S. Cellular Field Konerko weighed his options publicly for the first time. Despite his uncertainty something he said has burdened him this season the 37-year-old first baseman/designated hitter was able to provide a few concrete answers.

Should Konerko return in 2014 it would be his last season. If he decides to play he would prefer it be with the Sox.

The only place he would consider being a part-time player is in Chicago. Playing elsewhere next year would be tough but would be considered if he really wanted to play and couldn't reach a deal with the Sox.

Hahn said he expects to wait a few weeks before sitting down with Konerko to discuss what Konerko wants and if that's a return how he would fit with the Sox's plans.

Konerko said among his considerations will be his desire to come back from one of the club's worst seasons ever the need to spend more time with his wife and three children and his physical capability to play another year which he said goes beyond games to the demands of travel and offseason work.