Results tagged ‘ paul konerko ’

For Openers…De Aza Homers Twice, Sale Shines, Eaton and Abreu Excel in Debuts as Sox Defeat Twins

Monday, March 31, 2014

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Opening Day News

The Game

At U.S. Cellular Field in front of a sellout crowd of 37,422 on a beautiful 65 degree (at game time) day.

Twins           3    7  0

White Sox    5  11  0

Plays of the Day

Alejandro De Aza blasted a pair of homers, a two-run shot in the second inning (click on link below to watch video), which put the Sox on the board, and a solo blast in the sixth–giving him his first career multi-homer game. He becomes the first White Sox player to hit two home runs on Opening Day since Jim Thome accomplished it in 2008 at Cleveland and is the first Sox player to hit two homers in a home opener since Minnie Minoso in 1960 vs. the Kansas City A’s…In their Sox debuts, Adam Eaton went 2-4 with a run scored and Jose Abreu was 2-4, including a double, with an RBI and run scored. Chris Sale got the winallowing three runs, five hits, and a lone walk while striking out seven in 7.1 IP.

Matt Lindstrom, named the closer earlier in the day, earned the save.

http://atmlb.com/QzZ1qh    

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Sox Notes of Note

The White Sox 25-man roster includes 12 pitchers (five lefties), two catchers, seven infielders and four outfielders…New to the organization are INF Abreu , RHP Belisario, RHP Maikel Cleto, LHP Scott Downs, OF Eaton, C Adrian Nieto and RHP Felipe Paulino…the average age of the club is 27.8 down from 29.6 in 2013. INF Paul Konerko is the oldest player at 38, OF Avi Garcia is the youngest at 22…Abreu, Eaton, A. Garcia, Erik Johnson, Nieto, Marcus Semien and Daniel Webb open the season on a major-league roster for the first time…the Opening Day roster features six rookies–Abreu, Cleto, Johnson, Nieto, Semien and Webb–the most since 1999 (also six). By comparison, there were no rookies on the Sox season-opening roster in 2013…Konerko enters his 16th and final season with the Sox, tied with Frank Thomas (1990-2005) for the fifth longest tenure in club history. Only Hall of Famers RHP Ted Lyons (21 years), SS Luke Appling (20), RHP Red Faber (20) and C Ray Schalk (17) rank ahead of them in this category…Also, Paulie needs five total bases and 21 home runs to tie Thomas’ club records.

Paulie’s Final Opening Day Intro

https://vine.co/v/Me6HT3BVrQw

Opening Day Celebrations

First person I saw at the ballpark early this morning was Roger Bossard, who did a masterful job of getting the field ready. He is celebrating Opening Day #48. For Jeff Szynal, who is in charge of our scoreboard operations, it’s Opening Day #31.

Me, Opening Day #24 (23 with the White Sox).

Best Memories from Opening Day?

High on my list is Bo Jackson’s dramatic return from hip replacement surgery to homer in his very first at-bat in 1993. Here’s that memorable moment:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BS-Az6n5tTc

Quote of the Day

GM Rick Hahn, in an interview this morning on the McNeil and Spiegel Show on 670 The Score, talked about what it will take for the Sox to contend:

“If that’s going to be the case for us, it’s going to be for two main reasons. First, the starting pitching is going to stay together — John Danks being 18 months post-op is going to return to form, being that guy he was before (and) Chris Sale and Jose Quintana continuing on the upswing that we’ve seen from them the first few years. Additionally, some of our young players are going to wind up immediately (reaching their) ceiling. Not obviously saying that’s going to happen, but in that best-case scenario, Adam Eaton’s going to show you that ability to get on base, run, play defense the way he’s shown throughout his minor league career. Avisail Garcia’s going to not only hit for power but also average and improve that plate discipline a little bit. Jose Abreu’s going to be the same player he was in Cuba. All those guys have that upside. We certainly believe they’re going to reach that upside. Whether that starts on March 31st or it starts midway through the year, that’s for us to play out here.”

Tomorrow’s Schedule

Off Day. On Wednesday, White Sox vs. Twins at U.S. Cellular Field (1:10 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: RHP Paulino for the Sox, RHP Kevin Correia for Minnesota.

Photo of the Day

Chicago native Aja Evans, who won a bronze medal in bobsled at the recent Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, threw out today’s ceremonial first pitch.

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Opening Day Preview and More

Sunday, March 30, 2014

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Tomorrow’s Activities

The Game

White Sox vs. Twins at U.S. Cellular Field (3:10p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: LHP Chris Sale for the Sox, RHP Ricky Nolasco for Minnesota. Sale ranked among the American League leaders in virtually every category in 2013, including complete games (T1st, 4), SO/BB ratio (2nd, 4.91), WHIP (3rd, 1.07), strikeouts (3rd, 226), quality starts (T4th, 23), SO/9.0 IP (6th, 9.49), ERA (7th, 3.07) and opponents average (7th, .230).

There’s a great weather forecast for tomorrow and just under 3,000 tickets remaining.

Opening Day Roster:

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National Anthem

Gina Glocksen, former American Idol contestant. The Tinley Park native was the ninth-place finalist on the mega-hit TV show’s sixth season.

Presentation of the Flag:

Navy Recruiting District Chicago and the Naval Service Training Command Great Lakes.

Ceremonial First Pitch:

Aja Evans, a South Side native who was an Olympic bobsled bronze medalist this past February in Sochi, Russia. She is currently training to compete in the heptathlon for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Aja is a cousin of Del Matthews, White Sox assistant director of player development and scouting.

Promotional Giveaway

White Sox Magnetic Schedule presented by Miller Lite for all fans ages 21 and over.

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Facts & Figures

* The White Sox are 59-54 overall on Opening Day and 27-23 when opening at home. They are 5-1 at U.S. Cellular Field. The Sox’s 59 Opening Day wins are third most in the American League. Only the Orioles (65) and the Yankees (64) have won more season openers.

* The Sox have won 11 of their last 17 openers and 11 of their last 12 home openers.

* Sale, who is celebrating his 25th birthday today, will be making his second consecutive Opening Day start. He earned the victory last season with 7.2 scoreless innings against the Royals.

* This is the 14th time in the last 15 seasons that the Sox have started a left-hander on Opening Day. Jose Contreras in 2007 was the only righty during that span.

Quotes of the Day

* Paulie in his own words as told to Daryl Van Shouwen in the Sun-Times (top link) and Chris Rongey on White Sox Weekly.

http://bit.ly/1dCzPt4

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/audio/986-670-the-score-interviews/paul-konerko-with-white-sox-live-32614/#.Uzch7Yrw1K0.twitter

* Marcus Semien and Adrian Nieto (pictured below) on looking forward to their first Opening Day, via Scott Merkin at whitesox.com.

Marcus:

“I’m excited for it. It’s going to be way more people than Birmingham Opening Day or something like that. I’ve never been a part of one. I’ve never been to one as a kid, so I’m excited.”

Adrian:

“I can’t wait. I’m pumped to see all the great things I’ve heard [about Chicago]. “It’s probably the best city in America.”

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Sox Notes of Note

Cold Arrival

When the 2014 White Sox arrived at Midway Airport early Saturday morning, they faced a significant temperature drop from Arizona.

Some – like Alexei Ramirez – came prepared, whipping out stocking caps.  Robin sported a ski cap and down vest.  Others dealt as best they could as we waited on the tarmac for our luggage to come off the plane.  Imagine the immense Avisail Garcia wrapped in United Airlines blankets … it was brisk.

Kudos

To groundskeeper Roger Bossard and his crew for doing an amazing job on the field. Considering the photos and video we saw while in Arizona, it is amazing that the field is even ready for Opening Day.  But then Roger is the master.

When I arrived at the park this morning around 8:30, I stopped outside to see Roger.  There he stood, hose in hand.

“Watering?!?!” I yelled.  “After all that, you are watering?!?!?”

“First time in three weeks,” he laughed.  “I’m just happy we finally have some sunshine.”

The Bus

I jokingly had a saying when I traveled regularly that “The team bus never waits for the PR guy.”  How true.

After Friday’s exhibition game in Birmingham, Assistant GM Buddy Bell and I got to the bus right after the last out since neither of us needed to head down to the clubhouse (by the way, the Birmingham ballpark is terrific and if any fans have the chance, they should take in a Barons game or two this summer.)

We immediately sat down and started to watch Kentucky-Louisville on Buddy’s iPad. After about 25 minutes, something didn’t seem right.  No one else had gotten on the bus.

So I texted our traveling secretary … “Where are you?”

“On the bus.  We just left,” he replied.

What!!! (unbeknownst to us we were on a bus from the same company that was scheduled to take a group of minor leaguers back to the hotel).

“You are going to have to take a cab to the airport.”

Well, catching a cab in Birmingham after a game is no easy task.  And there is no Uber in Birmingham either (just so you know).

Thinking fast, Buddy called Julio Vinas, the Barons’ manager.  Julio was still at the park and was willing to give us a ride to the airport.

We got there just on the tail of the others going through screening.

“How do you miss the bus,” a kind TSA woman chided us as we walked up.

(You know your day is going badly when you are getting crap from a TSA agent, but anyway.)

You can imagine the reception we got when we arrived on the plane.

Didn’t miss the flight, though.

When in Birmingham…

Enjoyed lunch with Rick Hahn at Jim & Nick’s BBQ while in Birmingham.  While it is a chain, we really enjoyed the meal, especially the cheese biscuits, turkey and brisket.  Don’t miss it!

Boggs Signs Minor-League Deal

Right-handed reliever Mitchell Boggs, who was released by the White Sox during spring training, has signed a minor-league contract with the Sox.

Spring Training Wrapup

Camelback Ranch-Glendale recorded its highest per-game attendance this season in its six-year history hosting the White Sox and Dodgers. The facility averaged 8.087 fans per game this spring, eclipsing the previous high of 7,635 in 2010. A total of 202, 164 fans visited “The Ranch” this spring training. A record six games were sellouts and there was a 15.4 percent increase in per-game attendance from 2013 to 2014.

Jose Abreu hit .341 with two home runs and eight RBI in his last 12 Cactus League (CL) games…Adam Eaton reached base base in 16 of his 19 CL games and finished the spring with a .368 average…Semien finished the CL schedule with a six-game hitting streak. He batted .318 with a double, homer and six RBI over that span. Donnie Veal allowed just six hits over 10 CL innings pitched…John Danks worked five innings in each of his last four spring starts…On Friday night, the Sox downed the Class AA affiliate Birmingham Barons, 5-2, in front of a Regions Field record crowd of 8.513. Conor Gillaspie had three hits and drove in a run.

Photo of the Day

With a right-hander on the mound for Minnesota, PK will not be in the Opening Day starting lineup for the first time since 1998. It was his decision. He didn’t want to go against the Sox’ plan of primarily DHing against him lefties and spelling Abreu at first base. A class act to be sure.

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Hahn on Quintana: “Jose Brings a Tremendous Work Ethic and Professionalism to his Approach”

Monday, March 24, 2014

Today’s News

The Game

At Peoria…

White Sox    7  9  1

Mariners      6  8  1

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Plays of the Day

Marcus Semien hit a three-run homer in the second inning (click on top link below for video) and Paul Konerko connected for a two-run blast in the sixth (click on bottom link below for video). It was the first Cactus League home run for both and each of them added a single to the cause as well.

http://atmlb.com/1m2Oaie

http://atmlb.com/1jo1PmJ

White Sox, Quintana Agree to Long-Term Contract

The White Sox have agreed to terms on a five-year contract with Jose Quintana, which includes two club options.

If Quintana, 25, is eligible for arbitration following the 2014 season, the total guaranteed dollars would be $26.5 million.  He would receive $850,000 in 2014, $3.4 million in 2015, $5.4 million in 2016, $7 million in 2017 and $8.85 million in 2018.  The White Sox would hold options for 2019 at $10.5 million and for 2020 at $11.5 million.  If either option is declined, Quintana would receive a $1.0-million buyout.

If Quintana is not eligible for arbitration after the 2014 season, the total guaranteed dollars would be $21.0 million.  He would receive $850,000 in 2014, $1.0 million in 2015, $3.8 million in 2016, $6.0 million in 2017 and $8.35 million in 2018.  The Sox would hold options for 2019 at $10.5 million and for 2020 at $11.5 million with a $1.0-million buyout. Quintana would have been eligible for free agency following the 2018 season.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Quintana went 9-7 with a 3.51 ERA (78 ER/200.0 IP), 164 strikeouts and a major-league leading 17 no decisions over 33 starts in 2013, his first full season in the majors.  He tied for first among American League left-handers in starts, ranked third in runners per 9.0 IP (11.21), fifth in ERA, sixth in strikeouts and seventh in IP.  Quintana also set an AL record with 17 no decisions, three of which came when he threw 7.0-plus scoreless IP.

A native of Barranquilla, Colombia, Quintana last season became the youngest pitcher to lead the White Sox in starts since Mark Buehrle in 2002 (23) and joined Sale (214.1) as the only left-handed teammates in franchise history under the age of 25 to throw 200.0-plus IP in the same season.  Sale (6.9) and Quintana (5.4) combined to record a 12.3 bWAR, the second-highest total by a duo in the major leagues behind Detroit’s Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez (13.0).

Quintana has gone 15-13 with a 3.61 ERA (135 ER/336.1 IP) and 245 strikeouts in 58 games (55 starts) over two seasons with the White Sox after signing as a free agent on November 21, 2011.  He has thrown at least 7.0 scoreless IP without receiving a decision six times in his 55 career starts, which is tied with Joel Horlen for the club record.

On the Road

I grabbed a ride to the game today with bullpen catcher Mark Salas and special coach Art Kusyner.

When it came time to leave, Kusyner took off like a shot.

“Hey, no fast walking,” Salas said.

“Yeah, I move at a PR pace,” I added.

“So do we,” laughed Salas.

And after riding in the back seat of their car, you gotta ask “how many empty Red Bull cans are too many?”

“Be careful,” Salas warned. “Super Joe (McEwing) was back there.”

The Good Old Days?

Our computer network was down for much of the day today.

“Welcome to spring training in the 1990s,” quipped colleague Ray Garcia.

Bees

A small swarm of bees interrupted batting practice for a minute today and sent a few Sox scampering or dropping to the ground (imagine Avisail Garcia sprawled across home plate).

“Now we know what Robin doesn’t like,” someone joked.

Special Visitor

NHL star Chris Pronger visited Sox camp and connected with a few friends, including McEwing and Paul Konerko.

Quote of the Day

GM Rick Hahn on Quintana contract:

Jose quickly has established himself as a quality major-league starting pitcher, and along with Chris Sale, we expect him to be an important piece of our rotation for the foreseeable future. Jose brings a tremendous work ethic and professionalism to his approach, and he is well respected by his teammates, so we are excited to be able to reward him for what he has accomplished thus far in his career and possibly keep him in a White Sox uniform for the next seven seasons.”

Tomorrow’s Schedule

White Sox vs. Rockies at Camelback Ranch-Glendale (3:05 p.m., CT). Sox pitching schedule: LHP Chris Sale, RHP Maikel Cleto, RHP Nate Jones, RHP Matt Lindstrom. Colorado starter: RHP Juan Nicasio.

Photo of the Day

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Late Heroics Give Sox a 7-6 Victory Over the Rangers

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

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Today’s News

The Games

At Camelback Ranch-Glendale…the Sox are now 5-5-2 in Cactus League play.

Rangers        6  12  3

White Sox     7  12  1

At Goodyear (“B” game)…

White Sox    7

Indians         7

Plays of the Day

Vs. Rangers:  Alex Liddi’s walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth inning proved to be the difference for the Sox. Liddi also homered with two RBI in today’s “B” game. Carlos Sanchez led off the ninth with a single and was replaced on the bases by Micah Johnson (he also starred in the “B” game), who promptly stole second and scored on Liddi’s game-winner…Matt Davidson (pictured above) tied the game at 6-6 with two outs in the bottom of the eighth with a solo homer, his first in Cactus League play…John Danks, a day after his brother Jordan was one of the heroes in the Sox’s 6-3 victory over the Brewers, pitched five innings of shutout baseball. He gave up just four hits, walked three and struck out a batter...Gordon Beckham hit a solo homer, his first of the spring…Jose Abreu went 3-4 with a pair of RBI, Dayan Viciedo doubled in a run and Paul Konerko added an RBI…Nate Jones pitched a perfect inning…Cody Winiarski earned the win.

Vs. Indians:  Liddi was 2-3 along with the homer and two runs batted in...Micah Johnson went 3-4 with a run scored…Andy Wilkins, continuing his hot spring, was 2-2 with a homer, three RBI and a walk…Miguel Gonzalez was 3-3 with a run scored…Omar Poveda gave up only two hits and struck out five in three innings pitched.

Sox Notes of Note

Conor Gillaspie has a six-game hitting streak (.353)…Alejandro De Aza is batting .412 for the spring and is 5-7 in away games…Jeff Keppinger has three RBI in his last four games.

Roommates

Visit the spring training home of Sox prospects Micah Johnson, Marcus Semien and Jared Mitchell with CSN’s Chuck Garfien serving as your tour guide.

http://www.csnchicago.com/white-sox/cribs-white-sox-spring-training-edition

Quote of the Day

An in-game tweet during today’s Sox-Rangers game from CSN’s Dan Hayes:

“Have heard several times scouts surprised at how strong Adam Eaton’s arm is — just doubled off a runner from CF.”  #WhiteSox

Tomorrow’s Schedule

White Sox vs. Giants at Scottsdale (3:05 p.m., CT). Sox pitching schedule: RHP Felipe Paulino, RHP Daniel Webb, RHP Jake Petricka, RHP Zach Putnam, LHP Frank De Los Santos, RHP Nestor Molina. Starter for San Francisco: RHP Tim LIncecum.

Photo of the Day

Konerko, Beckham and Adam Eaton during today’s game with Texas.

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Split-Squad Thursday

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Today’s News

The Games

At Camelback Ranch-Glendale…

White Sox    4  10  1

Mariners      7  10  1

At Surprise…

White Sox    6  16  0

Royals         6  15  1

Plays of the Day

Vs. Mariners:  OF Adam Eaton went 3-3 with a stolen base, SS-2B Carlos Sanchez 2-4 with two RBI and a stolen base and LHP John Danks gave up one hit, a pair of walks and struck out two in three scoreless innings of work.

Vs. Royals: With the Sox down 6-4 heading into the top of the ninth, OF Jordan Danks led off the inning with a homer. 2B Micah Johnson singled for the third time, stole second and advanced to third on an error. He scored on a groundout to tie the score at 6-6…1B Jose Abreu (pictured below) smashed his first homer of the spring, a two-run shot, with OF Avi Garcia aboard…Garcia went 2-3 with a double and an RBI, SS Alexei Ramirez was 3-3, OF Alejandro De Aza 2-2 with a double and DH Jeff Keppinger 2-4 with an RBI.

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Sox Notes of Note

RHP Nate Jones, who has been dealing with a strained glute, is scheduled to pitch on Saturday vs. the Diamondbacks at Camelback Ranch-Glendale…if you look close enough at the photo below you can spot Paulie taking practice swings in the bullpen while the Sox battled the Mariners. And this was after he played in the game, delivering a single in three at-bats.

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Quote of the Day

Former major-league pitcher Brian Bannister, son of ex-White Sox lefty Floyd Bannister, on “Mr. Nice Guy” Jim Thome, who is currently working in the Sox front office:

“Thome is my favorite. He’d hit a bomb off you and then tell you after the game it was a “tough pitch” #gentlegiant

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Tomorrow’s Schedule

White Sox vs. Reds’ split squad at Goodyear (2:05 p.m., CT). 

Photo of the Day

Now this is something we can look forward to:

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It’s No. 38 for the Sox Captain

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

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Today’s News

The Game

At Camelback Ranch-Glendale…

White Sox    0  5  0

Padres         8 11 0

Plays of the Day

It was just one of those days for the Sox and LHP Chris Sale, but on a positive note 1B Paul Konerko, DH Adam Dunn, 3B Conor Gillaspie, SS Marcus Semien and C Josh Phegley all collected base hits. On the pitching side, RHP Dylan Axelrod pitched three scoreless innings and RHP Nestor Molina blanked the Padres with 1.1 innings of work.

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Special Visitor

Former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon was in Sox camp today. Here’s the Super Bowl-winning QB with bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen (center) and pitching coach Don Cooper.

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Robin today on 670 The Score

http://cbsloc.al/1f7EMo3

Sox Notes of Note

Prior to today’s game vs. San Diego, the Sox made the following seven roster moves: Reassigned RHP Chris Bassitt, RHP Parker Frazier, INF Mike McDade, RHP Brian Omogrosso, OF Denis Phipps, LHP Mauricio Robles and C Kevan Smith to minor-league camp.mWith the moves, the White Sox have 55 players remaining in major-league camp: 27 pitchers, five catchers, 14 infielders and nine outfielders…the Sox are featured on the MLB Network’s 30 Clubs in 30 Days tonight (approximately 7:00 p.m., CT). Here’s Robin in the photo below getting interviewed by Dan Plesac.

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Quote of the Day

Chris Sale, via @scottmerkin, whitesox.com

“This is a sports city. You are talking about the Bulls in the ’90s, the Blackhawks now. Holy cow. The history with the Bears …with the history of the White Sox in ’05, it would be nice to almost do our city a service and do it justice and bring another championship back with baseball.”

Tomorrow’s Schedule

Split Squad: White Sox vs. Mariners at Camelback Ranch-Glendale (2:05 p.m., CT). Starters: LHP John Danks for the Sox, RHP Scott Baker for Seattle…White Sox vs. Royals at Surprise (2:05 p.m., CT). Starters: RHP Chris Beck for the Sox, TBA for the Royals.

Photos of the Day

Here’s Paulie’s birthday cake, compliments of Gordon Beckham.

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It’s Sox vs. Dodgers in Tomorrow’s Cactus League Opener

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Today’s News

The Calm Before the Storm

With tomorrow’s Cactus League opener looming and a full schedule of games to follow, the Sox had a short day today. There was a brief meeting in the morning, a batting practice session that took about an hour and then the troops were free to go.

Tomorrow’s Schedule

White Sox vs. Dodgers at Camelback Ranch-Glendale (2:05 p.m., Chicago time) in the first game of spring training. Scheduled pitchers for the Sox are Chris Sale, Eric Surkamp, Donnie Veal, Jake Petricka, Matt Lindstrom and a host of others. Here’s the lineup card:

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Quote of the Day

It’s official. Adam Dunn will attend the Academy Awards on Sunday night. He was not only an investor in the Best Picture-nominated Dallas Buyers Club, but had a cameo as a bartender as well. His thoughts?

“I know people have parties for this kind of thing so it must be pretty cool.”

Sox Note of Note

More Dunn: Robin, tongue in cheek, said that a condition of Adam going to the Oscars is that he goes on stage if his movie wins for Best Picture…the White Sox have traded infielder Jake Elmore to the Oakland A’s in exchange for cash considerations. Elmore, 26, was designated for assignment on Wednesday after being claimed off waivers from Houston on November 13, 2013.

Did You Know … 

…that on this date in 1973 White Sox first baseman Dick Allen signed a three-year deal estimated at $250,000 per year, making him the highest-paid player in MLB history?

Photo/Video of the Day

Here’s Paulie commenting to Jose Abreu after the Sox rookie beat out an infield hit in his first at-bat in Tuesday’s intrasquad game.

http://t.co/W9ER6XHhiy

PK’s New Role

Wednesday, December 18. 2013

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Earlier Wednesday, Paul Konerko took part in a special conference call exclusively for White Sox season ticket holders. Here are a few of his answers to questions directly from Sox fans:

 On adjusting to late-game pinch hitting: “I will learn on the job as I go. I’ve had a lot of situations to draw from over my career. Your energy is there and your bat speed is there so you will try to use that to your advantage.”

 On his role with Robin Ventura: I want to be ready at all moments for what Robin wants me to do. I want to be on call for Robin for whatever he needs and not have to worry about what I am thinking.”

On whether he would ever consider coming back in 2015: “This is going to be it. Hopefully this goes well and would love nothing more than to do well when I play and whatever is asked of me. I would love to help some of these younger guys that have talent and be there for those guys. I’m hoping that with the lack of playing this year, there are moments where I have the energy to teach guys things they don’t know.”

On young Sox players Adam Eaton and Avisail Garcia: “Eaton is the guy that can make things go if he hits his stride. A guy like Eaton can be a someone who is a complete steal because of the tools he has. He can be a real mainstay. Garcia has as much power as anyone I’ve seen in the last 10 years. If he really gets it, he can be a monster. He could be a big-time threat.”

On celebrating the Christmas season: “When you have three kids, you have to get into Christmas. Being in Arizona, I wish we could have cold weather for one week to feel more like Christmas.”

PK’s back

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We announced some exciting news yesterday — that Paul Konerko would be returning to the White Sox for the 2014 season. Take a look at what Rick Hahn, Robin Ventura and Paul Konerko all had to say about the decision and what this will mean for the team moving forward.

Rick Hahn

On how tough it was to find the right fit for Konerko on the team:

“It wasn’t a difficult process on our end.  It was more about giving Paul the right information, time and space to come to his own decision about how he felt about the new role.  It was incumbent upon us to be honest with him and tell him straight how the fit would work out and how we envision the club moving forward.  I think it was more difficult for Paul, but we’re obviously pleased he came to this decision.”

 On negotiating the contract with Paul:

“I don’t think the money played a real large role in the decision for Paul.  He spent most of the time, when we met in November, discussing the role and opportunity with the club going forward.  In the last week or so did we put pen to paper on an offer and try to figure out the right parameters.”

 On Konerko’s new role with the team:

“He is going to have the opportunity to be used in a variety of roles as Robin sees fit on any given day.  That could be DH-ing against certain left-handed pitching, facing a tough righty here-and-there as we give Jose Abreu a chance to develop into an everyday first baseman.  A large part of the role and what we spent a large time talking to Paul about is his presence in the clubhouse and being able to continue to mentor some of our young players as we transition this roster over the next several months.”

 “He met with Todd Steverson in November as part of this process so he would understand Todd’s approach to hitting and the method Todd wants to teach.  I think Paul will play a role in reinforcing some of what Todd hopes to instill in our hitters.”

 “Paul represents what we hope young White Sox players evolve into being both on and off the field and having him around as a role model and mentor has a great deal of value to us as we turn over this roster.”

On how this impacts Adam Dunn’s role:

“I think Adam will be expected to deliver a high level of offensive performance, primarily against right-handed pitching. He may get fewer chances against lefties due to Paul’s presence, but that’s something that we’ve been discussing internally over the past several months and Adam is aware of it.  If anything, perhaps a day off here and there will help Adam.  Having most of his at-bats come out of the DH role should help him remain strong, and the matchups should remain favorable when he’s out there.”

On Paul’s role morphing into a coaching position when he retires:

“We haven’t gotten to that point yet.  Certainly as much as he’s meant to this organization and as bright of an individual that he is, it is something you can envision down the road.  The conversation at this point is about his playing career and not about what’s next.”

On priorities heading into the Winter Meetings:

“We still have work to do.  We want to continue to make steps towards retooling this offense. We’re not closing off any options that can help us get better, whether it’s on the position side of things, where we clearly feel we have need to improve, or even on the pitching side, where we feel is more of a strength right now. It’s more about finding the right fits for the long term.”

Robin Ventura

On Paul coming back:

 “It’s nice to have Paul’s presence here. I think he is looking forward to being productive on the field and have an impact off the field and in the clubhouse.”

On having Dunn/Konerko/Abreu:

“It’s trying to get those guys at-bats, match-ups will have something to do with it.  It’s not going to be set in stone that these guys will be playing on certain days.  There will be a bit of mixing and matching going on, but the type of individuals I’ll be dealing with and how professional they are I don’t sit and bang my head over it.”

Paul Konerko

On the toughest part of your decision process:

“I knew back in September/August, maybe most of last season, that if I was going to play next year it was going to be something like this.  Whether it was going to work with this team or another, I had to come to grips on that.  Accepting of the role, I’m probably way ahead of everyone else on that whether it’s people on the outside, the media, my family and friends because I knew where this was headed.  I knew that if I wanted to continue to play this is where it was going to head.  I’m excited about it because I probably wouldn’t be coming back to any situation if I knew I was slated to play a lot. This will be it for me.”

 On assisting the coaching staff:

“I would never insult a coach with thinking that anything on the player’s side comes anywhere close to what they have to deal with and what have to do to do their jobs.  I don’t look at it like that.  It might give me a little taste of perspective because I will have more time off to watch a game as a coach might to give me some insight to what they go through that if years down the road I decide or if an opportunity comes up it might turn me off to it or it might turn me on to it.”

“The biggest conversations that I have had were with Robin and also with Todd Steverson.  I just wanted Steverson to know that, I don’t know how many games I’ll play or how much I’ll be in there, there is going to be a lot more time when I’m not playing and a lot more time when I’m talking to guys which leads to hitting.  I just wanted to get off on the right foot with him and let him know that he is the guy.  I didn’t want to have a situation where I would have to go through six months of being afraid to talk hitting with a guy, but he made me feel nothing but welcomed and told me many times that he hopes I  come back.”

On accepting his new role:

“The one thing about this role is there will be more time I won’t be playing. I’m hoping to bring back the things that made me good throughout my career. If I can help to get guys going and turn things around, that is where my energy will be spent.”

“I hope I can impact some games in a good way. My only goal is to come back, do what I am asked and get this team going in the right direction.”

“Just getting into the fact that I’m not the guy anymore.  I had my time in the sun.  It kills me to see some of the guys we have not having their time in the sun as well as they should.  We should be having guys that are making All-Star Games that are getting monster contracts that are doing all these things.  At this point in my career I can look back and say I’ve done all that, because I have; it’s in the book.  I’m just hoping that some of these guys can realize their potential.  It just kills me to see some of these guys not doing as well as they can be doing.”

On having a farewell tour:

“I sure hope not.  If anyone thinks that about me, he doesn’t know me and I certainly don’t want that.  The easiest thing for me to do would have been to just retire.” 

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Keep the Faith

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Today’s News

This Afternoon’s Game

White Sox vs. Royals at U.S.  Cellular Field (1:05 p.m., CT, WGN) in the finale of the four-game series and last game of the 2013 season. Starters:  LHP Jose Quintana (9-6, 3.45) for the Sox, LHP Bruce Chen (8-4, 3.31) for Kansas City.

“Q” is 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA in his last three starts. He will be making his team-leading 33rd start, 18th at home and fifth against the Royals, and is the youngest pitcher (age 24) to lead the Sox in starts since Mark Buehrle (23) in 2002 with 34. He is aiming to become the 12th American League lefty to win 10 games this season and leads the major leagues with 17 no decisions, which is the most in A.L. and club history. He needs 7.0 IP today to join Chris Sale as the only Sox pitchers to reach the 200-inning mark.

Sox Starting Lineup: De Aza, LF; Ramirez, SS; Konerko, 1B; A. Garcia, RF; Jor. Danks, CF; Viciedo, DH; Beckham, 2B; Semien, 3B; Phegley, C.

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Looking Ahead

Blog

With the regular season ending, this is my last daily post. Keep in mind that I’ll be in touch during what promises to be an active and exciting offseason.

Think Positive

Want some thoughts to keep you warm (and positive) during the cold winter months? Think about All-Star and Cy Young candidate Chris Sale, Quintana, newcomers Avi Garcia, Marcus Semien, Erik Johnson and others who will be part of a winning White Sox future.

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SoxFest 

Look forward to seeing you at SoxFest, January 24-26, at the Palmer House Hilton. Check whitesox.com for details.

Opening Day 2014

The Sox open the 2014 season on Monday, March 31 vs. the Twins, 3:10 p.m., at U.S. Cellular Field. We begin at home for the second straight season and seventh time in the last 10 years. See you then and there.

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GM Hahn on the State of the White Sox

From Rick’s session with the media on Friday:

“At the end of the day, I feel personally responsible. There’s no two ways about it. I’m not in uniform, I’m not hitting the ball or throwing the ball, but I’m heavily involved in deciding who’s out there and in what role. It is my responsibility to maximize the number of victories this club can have, allbeit over an extended period of time and not just in one season. The way I see, it has been a very disappointing season and we’ve underachieved. I know there are a lot of people –between the players, coaches and the front office — who feel responsible, and I don’t feel any different in feeling responsible to get this thing right. It has been a very disappointing and long season, with a lot of work ahead of us, but I like the fact we’re very well aware of what needs to be done. One of the silver linings of a season like this is that we’ve been able to get going on some of these changes around the trade deadline. We’ve been able to spend a lot of time over the last few weeks and months talking about what needs to be done and have open and candid dialogue, and we’re ready to hit the ground running in the coming weeks to get this thing right as quickly as possible.”

On outsiders looking for one person to blame…

“There has to be accountability at the end of the day. Sports are a results-based business. In my position you can get a little too hung up in the results and you try to focus a little more on the process and making the right decisions based upon the information you had at the time. We all know in the end, we will be judged upon the final result; what is the end result of wins and losses. Again, we’re at a point right now where the goal is to get us to a championship caliber level on an annual basis. Ultimately, I plan or at least expect to be judged, over an extended period of time and how we get to that level. This is an unfortunate position we found ourselves in this year, but if anything it puts us in a better position in the long run. It’s nothing any of us wanted to sit through or endure, but in terms of the amateur draft and international signing bonuses, come next June or July we’re going to be in a better position, along with the players we acquired at this year’s trade deadline, to be in a better position for success.”

On Jeff Keppinger…

“Kepp would say [the shoulder injury] really didn’t affect him hitting. Personally, I think anytime you have a shoulder in need of repair it has to impact your ability to swing a bat. He’s not using it as an excuse and I’m not trying to throw him an excuse, but certainly it limited his ability to play in the field. That’s why you saw him primarily as a designated hitter or pinch hitter that last few weeks leading up to his surgery. As for [his role] going forward, the intent is to use him in the way he was initially brought here. That is as a complimentary player who can be moved around and give Robin some flexibility. The Beckham injury obviously forced him into greater playing time than we anticipated, but a healthy Jeff Keppinger can play a key role on a good team.”

Anything he prioritizes as something for the team to improve upon for next year…

“I think our runs scored going from fourth in the league [in 2012] to the bottom, our on-base percentage plummeting, the extra-base hits near the bottom are all real issues. Those are all things we’ll address here. The defense obviously slipped considerably. I did see the other day we’ve committed the most errors since 2000. We committed more errors in the 2000 season [than this season] and won 90 some odd games, which I think speaks to a margin of error with the offense. We couldn’t stomach the errors this year like we did in 2000. The offensive performance, the defense inconsistencies and our ability to run the bases are all real issues of concern. The caliber of play we’ve received in those three areas is unacceptable and it’s a priority for all of us to improve.”

On if he connects the dots between last year’s collapse and this year’s performance…

“I look at them as two separate things. Obviously, you can trace our disappointment back a calendar year given how we finished the 2012 season, but I don’t think there was anything endemic that the 2012 team carried over and soured this season. We had a 2012 team end a season spending 110 or so days in first place and first in the division in run differential. We finished that year with the idea that the team would carry over the success and be able to compete in 2013. We did that knowing there was going to be a core change in the team come 2015 just by the nature of Konerko’s age and contract status of Dunn, Rios and Peavy. There was going to have to be a new core here for 2015 and as we sat here a year ago deciding whether to take a step back and solidify the core for 2015 or do what we feel is in our best interest as we transition to that core. Obviously, it did not work out as we had hoped or intended and we got the chance to start focusing on the future sooner given the way this season has unfolded.  For me, the way 2012 ended we owed it to the players in the clubhouse and White Sox fans to follow the nature of if we had the opportunity to win to maximize that opportunity. Again, part way through the season that focus switched.”

On if he needs three years to fully evaluate Robin Ventura…

“I don’t know if there’s a magic number of games or time to have a true sample of what a manager is capable of doing. If anything, we’ve seen a very wide spectrum of situations Robin’s had to confront in his first two seasons. I think he’s met the challenges this team has put in front of him the last two years, the good and the bad. I think at the end of the day coaches and managers are judged on results, but it’s also about communication, enthusiasm and the ability to get the most out of players. He’s certainly had some challenges here, but I think Robin’s met all of them very well.

“I think at the end of the day all of us, me included, are evaluated based on player performance. Fundamentally, that may seem unfair at times because we’re not the ones in between the white lines, but as a front office executive who picks the players who play and the coaches who put them in positions to succeed, there has to be accountability with where we go with that performance. I don’t want to get into coach by coach and going through evaluating each guy, just as I wouldn’t sit here and go through each player. It’s disrespectful to say ‘this player had a good year and he’ll be back’ or ‘this player won’t be.’ Certainly, though, we’re all accountable for the performance on the field even though it’s the players who are doing the performing.”

As a person who grew up as a fan of Chicago baseball, what does it mean to have two teams with a combined 190 losses?

“It is really unfortunate. I can’t speak to anything on the other side of town; I simply focus on our own performance. Part of the reason I took this job is because summertime baseball in this town in important. Perhaps I have too lofty of a view of its importance in this town, but I look back at this past summer and look at it as a wasted summer. There was an opportunity, in our opinion, to perform better than we have, and we failed to meet that. Certainly if things had gone better on the other side of town it would’ve segmented for at least some of Chicago to feel better about the summer, but we certainly didn’t meet our obligation to entertain and get people excited about baseball. Ultimately, I feel that’s what our responsibility is.”

Catching situation…

“A lot of the performance of the pitching staff does come from what the catchers are doing. So while it is easy to look at a guy hitting .190 or another that is hitting .210 and say ‘oh these guys aren’t getting the job done,’ that’s really only part of the equation. Catching for a young guy at the big league level is a huge job in terms of pregame preparation, sticking to the game plan and pitch-to-pitch focus. I do feel our catchers deserve a fair amount of the credit for what our pitchers have been able to accomplish. Obviously offensively we’ve fallen short. Production from that position, along with other positions, hasn’t met what we envisioned. There’s two ways to go about it. Either the guys we have improve or we get someone from outside the organization.”

The development of the young pitchers…

“I certainly think we’ve gotten the most out of our young pitchers and helped them develop. You look at a guy like Jose Quintana who took a step forward this season or Chris Sale who has finished the season strong, who in my opinion is a viable Cy Young candidate. The Jose’s and Chris’ of the world deserve credit, along with Don Cooper, Bobby Thigpen and our training staff. But the catchers are part of the conversation too.”

How you would grade yourself…

“If it’s going to be for a one year basis, frankly, I look at these things as pass/fail. We won’t win the last game at the end of October and be crowned the champions, so we didn’t accomplish what we intended to accomplish. That may be black and white, but that’s how I view it. I will say there’s been a lot of progress in this organization as a whole. It’s been continued progress with the amateur draft, our presence internationally, the development of some of our internal prospects – Marcus Semien, Micah Johnson, Erik Johnson- who have taken steps forward this year. I think we’ve added to that prospect base and I think we’ve also purposely, as we went about building the team this year, not make any moves that were going to compromise our long-term competitiveness. I feel good about the health of the organization, I feel good about where we are from a scouting standpoint, I feel good about our reputation in the international market and as painful as it has been to sit through this year, come next June and July we’ll have about $15 million to spend on the amateur draft and international market to further solidify our direction to a long-term sustainable success. But if you’re going to look at the one season evaluation, we’re not winning the last game of the World Series and that’s not a passing grade.”

There being too many nice guys in the clubhouse…

“I think the won-loss record is a prism you judge clubhouse chemistry through that affects your verdict. If our record was reversed, I think we’d be getting a load of credit for having 25 good guys who all work hard, don’t ruffle feathers and are all pulling in the same direction and a cause of praising our clubhouse. Given things haven’t gone well and you haven’t seen a guy turn over a buffet table or something, people think there’s an edge missing. I do think there’s a bit of a chicken and an egg issue. I will say Robin and the coaches have addressed issues privately, behind closed doors and that may not be satisfactory to people on the outside who want to see that anger and passion, but quite frankly it’s how we prefer it to be handled. We like to keep clubhouse issues as clubhouse issues. I do feel that having an edge and having a fight and having an approach to every pitch, both offensively and defensively, can make you stronger and better. I don’t feel like we were missing that, per se, and I do feel that having bad clubhouse chemistry can make a good team worse. But I don’t think there was a missing element on this team and that it was the reason that we’ve performed the way we have.”

Offseason approach…

“We have to get better, and we have to get better quickly. We feel we’re in a good position from a pitching standpoint. Given the starting pitching that we already have under control, whatever turnaround that needs to take place here, we hope to minimize the time that takes. Quite frankly, getting a guy like Avisail Garcia at the trade deadline shortens that time as well. We’ll enter this offseason knowing there are a few areas that we know we need to improve. Our decision is to get those pieces and improve as quickly as possible. However, we aren’t going to do a band-aid approach that will move the arrow slightly just for 2014. I don’t want to sit here saying we won seven more games and we’re headed in the right direction. Instead, we’re going to make moves whether they’re in free agency or trade that continues to feed this effort towards a long-term success. If we do sign free agents on shorter term deals, part of that may be to allow for our prospects longer time to develop. The intent is to aggressively address our needs and get this thing turned around as quickly as possible.”

Potentially landing a big-time free agent…

“It is certainly conceivable, yes. As in terms of budgets nothing has changed from Jerry’s approach and you’ve heard that repeatedly.  Now we will have, due to where we finished, we are going to have sizable expenditures in the amateur draft and internationally. Those two things will be fully funded up front and looked at as fixed costs. Is it possible from there that we’ll have enough money to sign a player in free agency, absolutely. Again, we’re going to shy away from a short term fix and get this thing right so we’re in a position to contend annually for the postseason. If a high-priced free agent is going to fit, it’s not going to be for just 2014, it’ll be a vision for the next few years after as well.”

Fan Outlook…

“I think it has to be about maximizing wins over a period of time and that’s what people want to come to see. Now, I will say the brand of baseball we’ve played, I can understand why it hasn’t been appealing to people. It doesn’t appeal to me. Some of the areas where we want to improve will resonate with fans and our intent is to give them a brand of baseball that they associate more with what they want to see. Ultimately, to make a splashy move in hopes of selling some tickets isn’t as important as establishing what we want to here for the long term.”

Paul Konerko…

“We’ll handle it the way we’ve handled it the last two times. We’re going to let everyone get away for a few weeks and exhale. Then we’ll sit down with Paulie face-to-face about what he wants and how he’s feeling and what he hopes to accomplish next year, as well what the team’s going to look like and how he’ll potentially fit. I think he needs some time right now himself just to get away and think through his options. I think we’ll address that fairly early in the offseason so we’ll have some direction probably before the GM meetings, roughly.”

Where Konerko fits after his playing career…

“I don’t want to push him down that route or suggest that’s where it’s headed. There’s a process here that needs to take place. I will say, regardless of what happens, he’ll be remembered as the face of the franchise for this important period of White Sox baseball. One that obviously includes a World Championship as well as several big moments he played a part in. Personally it’s not my call, but I expect to see his number on the wall here someday. I know from my standpoint, if he so chooses, has a lot to add to a baseball operations department or player development department. There’s always going to be a spot here in some capacity, whenever that time comes.”

Konerko’s legacy…

“He obviously was the face of the franchise here for a very important time. He not only was a stabilizing force and a productive force in the middle of the lineup for well over a decade, but he was a go-to guy in the clubhouse for a lot of guys. He continues to define what it means to wear a White Sox uniform and represent himself on and off the field the way we want our players to be. Whenever he looks back on his time here I hope he does with a great deal of pride and he should. He was and is and will continue to be a tremendous White Sox.”

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Quote of the Day

Whatever the future brings, Konerko has established himself as a Sox icon, one of the most productive and beloved players in franchise history–ranking second in games, homers, runs batted in, total bases and extra base hits, third in hits and fourth in walks. Here’s a tribute from his friend and former Sox teammate Mark Buehrle:

“Paul is one of the true professionals in the game. He was the guy that you knew was the leader of the team and everybody looked up to him. He was one of my better friends on the team, just a good guy and outstanding player who plays the game the right way.”

Play(s) of the Day

The Sox tied their season high with four homers (click link below) in last night’s 6-5 victory over the Royals. Adam Dunn (No. 34) and Conor Gillaspie (13) smashed two-run blasts while Marcus Semien (2) and Jordan Danks (5) hit back-to-back solo shots in the second inning. Semien also was a triple shy of the cycle, adding single and a double…Erik Johnson went 5.1 innings, allowing three runs and five hits for his third win. Addison Reed came on in the ninth to record his 40th save.

http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?c_id=cws&content_id=31026893&partnerId=as_mlb_20130929_12508754

Did You Know…

…that the Sox started seven rookies last night–Gillaspie, Semien, Johnson, Leury Garcia, Avi Garcia, Jordan Danks and Miguel Gonzalez?

Photo of the Day 

To loyal White Sox fans, young and old alike, 2014 can’t come soon enough.

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