Paul Konerko took swings in the batting cage Saturday, and feels his back pain has improved to the point where he won't need to spend time on the disabled list.

Manager Robin Ventura's hope is Konerko will return to the White Sox lineup Tuesday as a designated hitter, and thinks he could use the team's captain as a pinch hitter on Saturday and Sunday against Cleveland.

"I don’t really see that happening," Konerko said when asked if he'd have to land on the disabled list. "The only way I could see that being an issue is if what I’m feeling now doesn’t go away or loosen up at all. Usually when you start doing stuff everyday it makes it way out [the discomfort]."

The 37-year-old Konerko figured if he's able to swing a bat he could also play first base, although Ventura -- as has been the case all year -- will continue to take a measured approach as to when to put him in the field. With the halfway point of the season fast approaching, Konerko has only played 34 games at first base. He hasn't played fewer than 90 games in the field during a season since 1999, his first year with the White Sox.

"I think when guys have back pain, it's not one of those he's going to deal with all the time as far as pain," Ventura said. "But I think every player at some point, backs are not an easy thing to overcome. … It's one of those, you deal with it but I don't think it's something it's going to be a painful thing every time he steps on the field."

Konerko's 2013 numbers are well below his career averages -- a .253/.319/.373 slash line -- although he was hitting better before being knocked out of the lineup with a balky back. Since the start of June, Konerko has a much healthier .278/.350/.403 slash line, although his power (three doubles, two home runs) remains lacking.