OAKLAND -- This was the series Gordon Beckham, the Opening Day second baseman, was possibly going to return from the disabled list. Instead, while the White Sox were opening a series in Oakland on Friday night, Beckham was hitting the game winner for Triple-A Charlotte.
The demand is there for Beckham's return to the White Sox. The timetable?
"In the next week, if not sooner," manager Robin Ventura said before Saturday's afternoon game against the A's.
Beckham, on the DL since April 10, appears to be doing fine with his surgically repaired left hand. He's 11-of-32 with two doubles and four RBIs in his rehab stint.
Ventura could hardly hold back a smile while discussing Beckham's return to the offensively challenged White Sox.
"It's up to him, really -- we'll welcome him any time," Ventura said. "It's just, when's the right time, does he feel he's ready to come up and ready to play? .. I let him know that I'm ready for him whenever he thinks he's ready.
"But you don't want a guy coming back off of what he's done and not be 100 percent ready to go. We don't want it to be a, 'I think I'm ready.'"
Konerko likely out Sunday to rest stiff neck
OAKLAND -- Designated hitter Paul Konerko woke up Saturday with a stiff neck and it only got worse as the day progressed.
He went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts before giving way to pinch-hitter Casper Wells in the sixth inning.
Konerko said the area around his lower right neck and trapezoid "bunched up" too much for him to keep his hands on the bat on a down-and-away pitch or turn on a fastball down the middle.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Konerko will likely rest for Sunday's series finale against the Oakland A's.
Konerko said he has had neck problems before in his career and that he decided to err on the side of caution Saturday.
"I've played enough to know that if you go out there all the time, you hold your breath and you have good games, you have bad games, whatever," he said. "Sometimes you know it's not pain or anything, it's about restriction. What you can get to, what you can't get to."
Ventura recalls Draft selection 25 years later
OAKLAND -- On June 1, 1988, Robin Ventura was a star at Oklahoma State University, and he received a phone call that made his dream come true.
The California kid had been drafted 10th overall by the Chicago White Sox.
Twenty-five years ago to the day, Ventura shared what he remembered.
"Back then, there was no Internet, so someone had to get a hold of you, which wasn't always so easy in Stillwater, Oklahoma," he said Saturday. "I think I found out in the afternoon at some point that I was drafted. I was from California and didn't know much about the White Sox. It was just one of those things where someone calls you up and says, 'Hey, you've been drafted by the White Sox.' … 'All right.'
"Nothing happened for a while because I played on the Olympic team and signed after that. It ended up being good, I'm glad it happened. Back then it was, 'Hey, by the way …' There was no fanfare or anything like that."
• Conor Gillaspie provided one of the five hits the White Sox mustered against Bartolo Colon on Friday. His 1-of-3 performance at the plate did not go unnoticed by manager Robin Ventura.
"With what Bart was doing, his approach, [Gillaspie] wasn't trying to do too much," Ventura said. "That's part of where you get in a little trouble with Bart is you're thinking you're going to get that first strike. He doesn't necessarily throw that first strike as hard as he can. He kind of locates it and puts a little sink on it, so if you're overaggressive, you're going to beat it down. [Gillaspie] was pretty patient and just made sure he got the one he wanted, stayed through the middle. He didn't get a bunch of hits, but the approach and the contact, that's what you're looking for."
Entering Saturday's action, Gillaspie ranked first among American League rookies in hits (40) and third in on-base percentage (.342).
• Jesse Crain extended his career-high scoreless streak to 20 1/3 innings after tossing a scoreless eighth Saturday. On a full count, Crain got A's slugger Yoenis Cespedes to strike out swinging with runners on second and third to end the inning.
Willie Bans is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.