White Sox manager Robin Ventura is taking extra measures to ensure the health of 37-year-old slugger Paul Konerko.

Since returning from the 15-day disabled list on July 22 Konerko has played exclusively as the designated hitter. Ventura said he would like to have Konerko return to first on a gradual basis and hinted that could begin this weekend at Detroit.

Ventura gave Konerko a break Thursday afternoon because the Sox played a night game Wednesday. Ventura admitted he's careful not to extend him after his three-week stint on the DL.

"It's just more protecting his back" said Ventura saying that Konerko experienced "a little something'' while running the bases this week.

Konerko has started 43 games at DH and 34 at first.

Routine for Rienzo: Rookie Andre Rienzo was delighted that he will be given more chances to establish himself in the Sox's rotation with the departure of Jake Peavy.

"This is awesome" said Rienzo who didn't allow an earned run in seven innings Tuesday in his major league debut. "This is my dream. Hopefully I can answer well for Robin for giving me the opportunity. I will help the team and try to do my best."

Rienzo who became the first Brazilian pitcher to reach the majors scored some points with his teammates by working at a fast tempo and helped his cause by displaying a sharp-breaking curve.