Results tagged ‘ paul konerko ’
Thursday, February 27, 2014
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.
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:
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.
Wednesday, December 18. 2013
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
Sunday, September 29, 2013
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.
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.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (6:10 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: RHP Erik Johnson (2-2, 2.82) for the Sox, RHP Yordano Ventura (0-0, 1.59) for K.C. Johnson owns a 2.82 ERA with 14 strikeouts over his first four career starts (three quality starts).
Sox Starting Lineup: L. Garcia, CF; Beckham, 2B; Gillaspie, 3B; Konerko, 1B; Dunn, DH; A. Garcia, RF; Semien, SS; Jor. Danks, LF; Gonzalez, C.
Paulie on Paulie
From yesterday’s session with the media:
On the impending processing of deciding his baseball future…
“One of the things I wanted to do coming into this season, regardless of the result, was that no matter what happened, I wanted to go home and take maybe a month to get away from baseball. That was my plan coming into this season which I decided on — along with the help of talking to other players, athletes and friends who have faced a similar decision.
“However, my decision is based on the premise that there is a choice given to me by the organization and they want me to come back. Right now, I don’t know that. I haven’t spoken to the White Sox formally about the decision, but this is all set to the backdrop of them wanting me to come back. Ultimately my mind could be made up for me because right now I don’t know what my choices or options are from their end.”
On his physical and mental state affecting his decision…
“Right now, the physical end is probably a bigger factor. Mentally, I think you can always rebound. This isn’t the first rough season I’ve had. But, the older you get it’s easier to let things go quicker. You do get beat up a little more mentally each year, but ultimately you get better at handling it. But, physically you just have to know your body. When you talk about the offseason and Spring Training, those are big commitments that you have to want to do. The season doesn’t start on April 1. For me, it starts mid-November. So, you have to know that you’re willing to go through that. It’s a long year and you have to know if you’re up for it physically.
“You can never totally know with certain injuries. There are some things that are isolated and once you get past it, you know that will never bother you again. But, other things you just know that’s never going away and it may hang around as a nagging injury. Again, that’s something over the next month or so todetermine. It’s not just games, but it can take a toll traveling, during Spring Training, the offseason and all of those things.”
On finishing his career with the White Sox…
“That’s always been my goal. Again, I don’t know the options that will be made available to me. But, when I signed back here in ’05 I felt like that could be it, and after 2010 it has brought us to this point now. That’s always what I have envisioned, finishing my career with the White Sox.”
On how the decision has weighed on him throughout the year…
“Every season, since I was seven years old, I’ve know I would continue to play the next year. If I do play next year however, that would probably be my final year. There are just so many factors, like traveling to different cities and then thinking ‘Am I going to see this person again or ever be back here?’ Looking back, I didn’t like going through that and not knowing the answer. I wasn’t sure enough coming out of Spring Training to decide one way or the other if this would be my final season. If I had made that decision, I probably would have had a better year personally for me either way the decision went. However, that doesn’t excuse the season we have had as a team. There’s just so much that is in your control as well as out of your control.”
On how the results of 2013 will factor into his decision…
“That’s a huge determining factor, it may be the biggest. You only go through this sort of thing once, so you seek the advice of other people who have been through it. It would be nice to go out on top with a winner or having your best season, but looking at the other side of it, this is how careers are supposed to end. Not everybody gets to do it exactly how they want. When things aren’t at their best, that is what closes you out, when you’ve decided you’ve had enough if things aren’t going the way you want them to. I can see it both ways. You’re always taught to fight throughout your career to overcome the bumps in the road, no matter what happens, you get up and fight again. It’s a matter of whether or not I’m in the mode of wanting to get up and fight.
“I just think taking a month off and away from the game will help. The more you don’t play, I think the needle will always move towards wanting to play. I just have to determine how much of that feeling is real come November.”
On the possibility returning to play as a part-time player…
“The only place I could do that is in Chicago. My family likes it here, my kids love it here and it’s a great place to be in the summer. I’ve always held myself to a high standard, production-wise. If I do come back in any capacity, I may have to lessen those standards somewhat. Production can be done in a variety of ways, it’s not just hitting home runs and driving in runs. If I’m going to come back, I have to be better working with the young guys and helping them out, instead of being so consumed with myself and following my own routine.
“Again, that role has to exist for me here though. I don’t know what the roster will look like yet, that will be determined by Rick and the front office. I’m very conscious of earning my way onto the playing field, and not having to have a favor done for me. Since I was a little kid, I feel like I’ve earned my way, and right now, I’m not sure I can say that for next year. That’s a concern for me. I don’t want to put anybody in a tough spot. I want to be back here because it makes sense for me and the White Sox, because this organization has always been honest with me and treated me well. I’m not looking to power play somebody into a job, because that’s not who I am.”
On the possibility of Sunday being his final game…
“It’s crossed my mind. But regardless of knowing whether or not it will be my last game going into it, I’m going to go about it the same way as every game. I’m still going to come in, hit off the tee, take batting practice, get ready and go play. I don’t know how else I would go about it or how much more I would do. I don’t get too caught up in those sorts of things. I could play Sunday and look back a month from now and find out that was my last game. That’s possible, but I don’t know what other way to go about it right now.”
On the possibility of playing for another team next season…
“I’d have to weigh my options if I decided I wanted to play again but the opportunity of playing for the White Sox wasn’t there. It would be tough to go somewhere else to play for just one year. It would come down to how much I really just want to still play the game of baseball. There are a lot of factors that will go into it. But, right now I don’t know what options will be presented to me.”
On his future in baseball after retiring as a player…
“Right now, I can’t see myself doing anything in the game. It would be a while. Because of the age my kids are, I wouldn’t want to miss something with them that I couldn’t do because I took a job in baseball. I have some other interests and things I could do from or around home to keep me busy for a while.”
Fan Appreciation Day
Tomorrow is Fan Appreciation Day at U.S. Cellular Field. In addition to Family Sunday events, select players plus Sox coach Harold Baines and Ron KIttle, both stars on the 1983 “Winning Ugly” White Sox, will sign autographs for kids before the game. Additionally, 1,300 prizes will be given away and youngsters can run the bases post-game.
Play(s) of the Day
Gordon Beckham hit a solo homer, his fifth of the season, and Alexei Ramirez tripled and singled in last night’s loss to the Royals.
Quote(s) of the Day
GM Rick Hahn announcing yesterday that Robin will be back as Sox skipper in 2014:
“Robin has met the challenge this team has put in front of him over the last two years, both the good and the bad, extremely well.’’
Ventura on returning next year:
“I am motivated to be back and happy to come back and turn this around.”
White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (1:05 p.m., CT, WGN) in the final game 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.
Did You Know…
…that Dayan Viciedo is hitting .333 with seven doubles, four homers, 19 RBI and 16 runs scored over his last 29 games?
Photo of the Day
Gordon puts in on the board.
Friday, September 27, 2013
White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN+). Starters: LHP Chris Sale (11-13, 2.97) for the Sox, RHP James Shields (12-9, 3.21) for Kansas City.
Sale is among the American League leaders in numerous categories: Complete Games (4, 1st); Strikeouts by a Lefthanded Pitcher (221, 1st); Strikeout/Walk Radio (4.91, 2nd); Strikeouts (221, 3rd); WHIP (1.05, 3rd); Quality Starts (23, T3rd); Opponents On-Base Percentage (.278, 4th); Strikeouts/9.0 IP (9.52, 5th); Opponents Average (.225, 5th); Opponents Slugging Average (.350, 5th); ERA (6th); and Home ERA (2.79, 8th).
* His strikeout total this year is the most strikeouts in a season by a White Sox lefthander in team history.
* He ranks fifth in strikeouts in club history for a single season behind Hall of Famer Ed Walsh (269 in 1908, 258 in 1910, 255 in 1911, 254 in 1912).
* He is attempting to set Sox single-season records in strikeouts per nine innings and strikeout-to-walk ratio.
* He is the eighth pitcher in Sox history (15th time) to work at least 200 innings and have 200-plus strikeouts in a season.
* Has six career 12-plus strikeout games, tied with Juan Pizarro and Ed Walsh for the most in team history.
* Chris is the fastest pitcher in franchise history to reach 200 K’s in a season (193.2 IP, 27 games) and 500 career strikeouts (472.1 IP).
* His .133 average vs. lefthanded hitters is the third-lowest in the major leagues.
Sox Starting Lineup: Jor. Danks, CF; Beckham, 2B; Ramirez, SS; Dunn, DH; Konerko, 1B; A. Garcia, RF; Viciedo, LF; Semien, 3B; Phegley, C.
PK spoke to the media before today’s game. Among the highlights:
* He’s going to take a month off before making a decision whether or not to play next year.
* If he does come back, 2014 will be his last season.
* He could make a list of 20 reasons to come back and another list of 20 reasons not to.
* For the first time going back to his youth, he doesn’t feel he’s earned his way onto next year’s team. He said his role would have to make sense for both him and the Sox.
* He indicated that if he does come back, production can be evaluated in a number of ways so he would consider a different role and working closer with the young players.
A Special Thank You
I thought I’d share this e-mail we received today from a fan named Ben. It never ceases to amaze me what an act of kindness at the ballpark can do:
I am writing to tell you about a heartwarming event which occurred last night during the game with the Royals. Just before the game started, a family of four, Dad, Mom, Daughter, Son, walked down to their seats in the 18th row of section 120. Not that unusual, except the little girl, about 9 years old with pigtails and glasses, struggled mightily to get down the stairs. She had braces on both legs, held Mom and Dad’s hands and made her way down to her seat. The thing which struck me the most was the smile on her face, she was just happy to be at the ball game. Her journey looked painful to me but didn’t seem so to her.
I was sitting about 7 rows behind them and a section over. Each time there was a break in the action, her Mom and brother would help her to her feet. Her brother would rise too and the two of them kept trying to get on the scoreboard. They kept smiling the whole game but never made it onto the scoreboard. As the 6th inning approached, two young ladies from your Chevy Pride Crew were standing behind sections 122 and 123, waiting for the 7th inning stretch.
I walked up to the two young ladies from your Chevy Pride Crew (I did not catch their names but looking at your web site, I believe one was Kathleen). I asked them if they had any pull with the in stadium cameramen. I explained to them the story about the little girl. They said they would see what they could do.
In the bottom of the sixth, one of the young ladies walked down the aisle with two t-shirts in hand and sits down behind the family. She talked to the family for a couple of minutes and then presented the kids with the t-shirts. Their eyes got real big and their smiles were as wide as the Grand Canyon. When the young lady from the Chevy Pride Crew left, she did not get to see all of the excitement she created. That little girl was on Cloud Nine! The family stayed until the 8th inning, the little girl clutching her t-shirt. This was better than being on the scoreboard, she could take the shirt with her. After struggling up the stairs to leave, smile still on her face, she got into a wheelchair, which I had not seen before. The Security Guards were asking her about her t-shirt and she told them about the special young lady who gave one to her and one to her brother. The Security Guards gave her enthusiastic high fives.
The family left but your team put a huge smile on the face of a little girl! I am sure she will be a White Sox fan for life. I want to thank the White Sox and especially the two young ladies from your Chevy Pride Crew for making a lifetime memory for a little girl and her family, it was so touching to see!
“Like Sands Through the Hourglass, So Are the Days of Our Lives”
For a few of the cast members of the long-running soap opera, Days of our Lives, their lives included a visit last night to U.S. Cellular Field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch (plus an appearance in the Sox #SocialLounge).
Play(s) of the Day
Paulie hit his 12th homer of the season, a solo shot, and 434th of his career while Adam hit No. 33, also a solo blast, and No. 439 in last night’s 3-2 loss to the Royals…Andre Rienzo was solid in a quality start, allowing just two earned runs and four hits in 6.0+ innings.
Here’s Dunn’s monster home run, which was just shy of the rightfield concourse and estimated at 442 feet: http://atmlb.com/1fKY5XR
Quote(s)of the Day
GM Rick Hahn on the Sox status:
“We’re well aware of what needs to be done. We’re ready to hit the ground running… to get this thing right.”
Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf on the tenure of Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who yesterday officially announced he will be retiring in January of 2015:
“When you step back and view the dramatic transformation Major League Baseball has undergone during Bud Selig’s tenure as commissioner, it is truly quite astounding. A social institution with a long and rich history like baseball is often very resistant and slow to change, yet Commissioner Selig has introduced dramatic, sweeping innovations to improve the game like expanded playoffs, comprehensive drug testing and competitive balance. These changes have left a lasting impact on baseball, most importantly for the fans of this great game. At his heart, Bud is a baseball fan, and that perspective has driven all he has done during his time as Commissioner. That is his legacy.”
White Sox vs. Royals at U.S. Cellular Field (6:10 p.m., CT, CSN). Starters: RHP Erik Johnson (2-2, 2.82) for the Sox, RHP Yordano Ventura (0-0, 1.59) for K.C.
Did You Know…
…that Konerko’s homer last night tied him with Juan Gonzalez and Andruw Jones for 42nd place on the all-time home run list? Dunn is now three behind Dave Kingman for 38th place.
Sox Notes of Note
Tyler Flowers spoke to the media yesterday. He said he was ahead of schedule in his rehab and will begin his normal offseason routine in December as usual. Flowers said his shoulder bothered him on and off all season, but refused to use it as an excuse. Tyler said he hopes to be back with the White Sox next season to prove he can play, but understands it’s a business…Jeff Keppinger underwent successful surgery on his right shoulder yesterday at Rush Medical Center. The procedure involved a debridement of the right shoulder–no surgical repair was necessary. Keppinger is expected to recover in 2-3 months and will be ready for spring training next season…Sox great Frank Thomas, like Keppinger a native of Georgia, has been elected to the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. The Big Hurt, from Columbus, will be inducted next February 22 in Macon.
Photo of the Day
Our All-Star lefty makes his last start of the season.
Monday, September 23, 2013
White Sox vs. Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field (7:10 p.m., CT, CSN+) in a makeup game originally scheduled, but postponed, on June 12. Starters: LHP Jose Quintana (8-6, 3.49) for the Sox, LHP J.A. Happ (4-6, 4.82) for Toronto. Quintana has given up three runs or less in 14 of his last 15 starts.
Sox Starting Lineup: De Aza, CF; Ramirez, SS; Keppinger, DH; Konerko, 1B; A. Garcia, RF; Viciedo, LF; Beckham, 2B; Semien, 3B; Phegley, C.
Paulie Talks with the Ripkens
Listen to Paul Konerko as he visits with Cal and Billy Ripken last Friday on the MLB Radio Network:
Wins (For a Pitcher) Aren’t Everything
Play(s) of the Day
Avisail Garcia and Jeff Keppinger each collected three hits and two RBI and Conor Gillaspie drove in two runs with a triple and scored three times in yesterday’s 6-3 win in Detroit. Erik Johnson chalked up his second major league victory, and second straight, allowing just two runs in 6.2 innings to lower his ERA to 2.82.
Here’s Conor’s triple in the fifth inning and Jeff’s double that scored two runs in the seventh:
Quote of the Day
A very positive tweet and a look ahead to 2014 from our whitesox.com beat writer after the Sox scored three runs in the fifth inning yesterday and held the Tigers scoreless. Avi singled in a run, Semien singled and scored, Gillaspie tripled in the two runs and Johnson retired the side in an uneventful fifth:
@scottmerkin: Strong inning for the White Sox future: A. Garcia, Semien, Gillaspie, Johnson.
White Sox vs. Indians at Progressive Field, Cleveland (6:05 p.m., CT, WCIU) in the opener of a two-game series. Starters: LHP Hector Santiago (4-9, 3.53) for the Sox, RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (12-9, 3.39) for the Tribe.
Did You Know…
…that Avi Garcia is now hitting .375 with 12 RBI in his last 16 games including 7 for 15 with a homer and five RBI against his former Tigers teammates over the weekend? He’s also playing great defense as evidenced in yesterday’s game by his diving catch to rob Prince Fielder on a line drive in the sixth inning.
Photo of the Day
Two in a row for Erik.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Happy Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day: White Sox vs. Indians at U.S. Cellular Field (6:10 p.m., CT, WGN). Starters: RHP Andre Rienzo (2-1, 4.50) for the Sox, RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (11-9, 3.62) for the Tribe. In his last start, against the Orioles, Andre (pictured below) collected his second career victory, allowing just one run and four hits in 6.2 IP.
Sox Starting Lineup: De Aza, CF; Beckham, 2B; Ramirez, SS; Konerko, 1B; A. Garcia, RF; Gillaspie, DH; Viciedo, LF; Phegley, C; Semien, 3B.
Barons Look to Clinch Title
The Birmingham Barons, the Sox’s Class AA affiliate, still hold a two games to one lead in the best-of-five Southern League Championship Series despite a 6-0 home loss last night to the two-time defending champion Mobile BayBears, a Diamondbacks farm club. Game 4 is tonight in Birmingham with LHP Scott Snodgress (below), the club leader with 11 wins, getting the starting nod for the Barons. A victory will give Birmingham its first Southern League title since 2002.
More Barons: Birmingham yesterday was named the Southern League Organization of the Year, presented to the club that exemplifies the most complete franchise in the SL, and GM Jonathan Nelson was chosen as the league’s Executive of the Year for the second time (2009). In addition to their excellence on the field, the Barons led the league in total attendance (396,820) and average per game (5,669) at brand new Regions Field.
Play(s) of the Day
Paulie singled and drove in the lone Sox run in yesterday’s 3-1 loss to Cleveland…Marcus Semien, playing second base, had his second straight two-hit game, stole his first big-league base and made a beautiful play behind the second-base bag, flipping the ball backhanded from his glove to Alexei Ramirez for a force out to end an Indians threat in the fourth inning (see Photo/Video of the Day)…Alexei had a three-hit game, Dayan Viciedo added a pair of singles and Jordan Danks singled and walked twice…Jake Petricka (1.1 IP), David Purcey (2.2) and Nate Jones (1.0) worked five scoreless innings in relief of Hector Santiago.
Quote(s) of the Day
An Inside Look at Marcus Semien: From a piece in the Sun-Times by Daryl Van Schouwen
Semien on his introduction to the major leagues:
“I’m starting to see the pace of the big-league game is a little faster. I’ve been working hard every day in early work, trying to adjust as fast as I can here. They’ve put me in different situations just to see how I react to it.’’
Gordon Beckham on Marcus:
“He’s quiet. Goes about his business. He doesn’t strike me as a person that is going out of his lane, so to speak. It looks like he’s learning and listening.’’
Assistant General Manager Buddy Bell’s assessment of Semien:
“I think he’s going to hit, and he also has the ability to play all three positions. He has a legitimate chance to help us next year. Whether or not it’s out of spring training, I don’t know. I think he’s capable.’’
White Sox vs. Indians at U.S. Cellular Field (1:10 p.m., CT, CSN) in the finale of the four-game series. Starters: LHP Chris Sale (11-12, 2.90) for the Sox, RHP Zach McAllister (7-9, 4.11) for the Tribe.
Did You Know…
…that Petricka extended his scoreless streak to five games (7.2 IP) in yesterday’s contest?
Photo/Video of the Day
Friday, September 13, 2013
This Afternoon’s Game
White Sox vs. Indians at U.S. Cellular Field (1:10 p.m., CT, WGN). Starters: LHP Hector Santiago (4-8, 3.44) for the Sox, RHP Danny Salazar (1-2, 2.92) for Cleveland.
Sox Starting Lineup: Jor. Danks, RF; Semien, 2B; Ramirez, SS; Dunn, DH; Konerko, 1B; A. Garcia, CF; Gillaspie, 3B; Viciedo, LF; Anderson, C.
Barons One Game Away From Title
The Birmingham Barons, the Sox’s Class AA affiliate, are a game away from their first Southern League crown after defeating the defending champion Mobile BayBears, 8-2, last night in Mobile to take a two games to none lead in the best-of five championship series. Game 3 is set for tonight at Regions Field in Birmingham.
With a roster full of Sox prospects, the Barons were led by DH Trayce Thompson’s homer and two RBI, 2B Micah Johnson’s two hits and two runs scored and winning pitcher Chris Beck’s (pictured below) outstanding six innings of work, allowing just one earned run, six hits and two walks while striking out four.
Play(s) of the Day
Paulie hit his 11th homer of the season, a solo shot, and 433rd of his career in last night’s loss to the Indians. Konerko is batting. 339 with three doubles, two home runs and eight RBI over his last 16 games…INF Marcus Semien had a pair of hits, including his first major-league extra-base hit (a double)…Miguel Gonzalez recorded his first major league hit (a single) and Avisail Garcia added two singles. Avi is hitting .333 in his last 26 games, including 10 multi-hit efforts…Dylan Axelrod, with his 5.0 scoreless innings, made the longest relief outing of his career.
Quote(s) of the Day
I posted yesterday that rookies Semien and RHP Erik Johnson were among the players named to Baseball America‘s 2013 Minor League All-Star first team and were teammates on the University of California-Berkeley squad that made it to the 2011 College World Series.
Colleen Kane points out in today’s Trib that they were also roommates at Cal and played summer ball together in the Northwoods League in Minnesota as well as being drafted the same year (2011) and called up to the majors on the same day (September 3).
“We’ve been together through everything, actually,” Semien told Kane.“It’s pretty cool. If you have any questions, you can always go to him and ask because we’ve kind of gone through the same things. You don’t feel like you’re alone through this.”
Johnson added: “It makes me comfortable when he’s out there playing behind me.”
White Sox vs. Indians at U.S. Cellular Field (6:10 p.m., CT, WGN). Starters: RHP Andre Rienzo (2-1, 4.50) for the Sox, RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (11-9, 3.62) for the Tribe. In his last start, against the Orioles, Andre collected his second career victory, allowing just one run and four hits in 6.2 IP.
Did You Know…
…that PK leads all active players with 48 homers against the Indians?
Photo of the Day
Santiago is on the mound today looking to even the series against Cleveland.