Tag:Paul Konerko
Posted on: September 8, 2011 10:43 pm

Juan Pierre joins 2,000 hit club

Juan PierreBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Juan Pierre's third-inning single against the Indians' David Huff on Thursday gave him 2,000 for his career. He's the 268th player in Major League history to reach 2,000 career hits and the eight player to reach the milestone this season. Pierre's the second White Sox to reach the career mark this season, joining Paul Konerko who notched his 2,000th career hit on Aug. 23.

It was only fitting that Pierre reached 2,000 with a single -- it was the 1,667 single of his career.

Also reaching 2,000 hits this season were Carlos Lee, Orlando Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Michael Young, Scott Rolen, Adrian Beltre and Konerko. He figures to be the last to get to 2,000 this season -- but 10 players are in striking distance to reach the mark next season -- Placido Polanco (1,947), Jason Giambi (1,945), Derrek Lee (1,940), Carlos Beltran (1,895), Andruw Jones (1,880), Jimmy Rollins (1,846), Torii Hunter (1,803), Lance Berkman (1,795) and Raul Ibanez (1,774).

Pierre, 34, is the 23rd active player with 2,000 hits, led by Derek Jeter with 3,069.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 10, 2011 10:28 am
Edited on: August 10, 2011 10:28 am

Pepper: Where will Bubba Starling end up?


By Evan Brunell

TOUGH DECISION: Bubba Starling has a choice -- accept a hefty bonus and head to the minor leagues for a few years in the hope he can rise up the ladder and join the Royals. The hometown athlete was drafted by Kansas City in June but he has yet to sign with the deadline coming up on Monday. Starling has a tough decision to make -- join K.C. or head to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, where fame as a quarterback awaits.

“It’s a win-win situation,” Starling told the Kansas City Star.

Starling was at the University of Nebraska signing autographs and fans obviously were rooting for Starling to opt to join the Cornhuskers. The problem is, that's a lot of money for Starling to give up to play football, a sport that's more dangerous to overall long-term health.

“If it was my son, I’d probably tell him to play baseball,” fan Kevin Sullivan said. “But, you know, if he’s going to play Nebraska football …” (Kansas City Star)

: There's always a few injuries each season that make you do a double-take. Chris Narveson was a victim of such an injury, slicing his thumb with scissors while trying to repair his glove. He required eight stitches and will miss his next start. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

BACK TO SCHOOL: Zachary Houchins, the Nationals' 15th round pick, is heading back to college. “I haven’t had [contact with the Nationals] any since all that stuff happened,” Houchins said. “I’m set on going back to school. ... I’m happy with it. I’d love to go back there.”

Houchins is referring to epithets used to describe African-Americans, homosexuals and Chinese on his Twitter feed in June, since deleted. The Nationals were upset with his words, which Houchins admitted they had a right to be. Houchins added, though, that the comments weren't hateful and just part of how he and his friends (many African-American) talk.

“Honestly, in my eyes, there was no lesson to learn,” Houchins said. “It’s just what I said got blown out of proportion, and I paid the price for it.” (Washington Post)

CLUTCH: Matthew Leach runs through a list of players who have been clutch so far this season. The one thing that caught my eye is Asdrubal Cabrera's performance with the bases loaded -- a pristine 6 for 6. (MLB.com)

INJURY PROBLEMS: Paul Konerko's left calf strain has made lineup maneuverings tough for skipper Ozzie Guillen, and if the White Sox had gone into extra innings last night, would have done so without a DH when Konerko was pinch-run for by Brent Lillibridge, with Lillibridge moving to first for the ninth. (Chicago Tribune)

LYNN, TOO: Cardinals reliever Lance Lynn strained his left oblique in Tuesday's game and will hit the disabled list, depriving the team of one of its most dependable late-inning relievers. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

SURGERY: Reds shortstop Zack Cozart is likely to undergo surgery to repair a hyperextended left elbow, and would prefer to get it over with sooner rather than later. (Cincinnati.com)

LOPEZ ... HEPING? There's a piece up today about Felipe Lopez, who supposedly doing well in Milwaukee after coming over from Tampa Bay, starting nine of the last 10 games. How someone hitting .235/.289/.235 in 34 at-bats (which was conveniently omitted from the story) is doing well is not clear. (MLB.com)

LAST RING: Bengie Molina was at the Rangers game on Tuesday, collecting his AL championship ring -- the last ring Texas needed to hand out. He also threw out the first pitch and told his ex-teammates not to waste their strong season. (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

SANTO STATUE: The Cubs will unveil a statue of Ron Santo on Wednesday. In the article, an interesting tidbit: Kerry Wood only returned to the Cubs because he ran into GM Jim Hendry at Santo's funeral in December. (Chicago Tribune)

ILLEGAL BALLS: An independent baseball team, the Lake County Fielders, had a game suspended Friday night for claims that the team provided inferior baseballs to be used. These baseballs were not sanctioned for professional use, but were still brand new and purchased from a sporting goods store. In financial trouble, the team hadn't placed its order to Rawlings for the baseballs until it was too late, and umpires decided the baseballs weren't acceptable. League officials have since approved their usage. (DailyHerald.com)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: July 7, 2011 6:24 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 1:30 am

Victorino, Konerko win All-Star Game 'Final Vote'

By Matt Snyder

After not making their respective All-Star teams the first time around last Sunday, Shane Victorino and Paul Konerko have been added to their respective All-Star squads after winning the "Final Vote." The MLB All-Star Game is Tuesday night in Phoenix, Ariz. (MLB.com)

Phillies center fielder Victorino bested Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier, Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, Nationals first baseman/outfielder Michael Morse and Diamondbacks starting pitcher Ian Kennedy to join the National League All-Star team. Victorino became the first two-time winner of the Final Vote, as he also won in 2009. Victorino does have a minor injury this time, so it's possible he'll need to be replaced on the roster within the next few days. Still, the honor of winning is his. The two victories in the Final Vote mark Victorino's only two selections to the All-Star Game.

White Sox first baseman Konerko beat out Tigers DH Victor Martinez, Royals left fielder Alex Gordon, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones and Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist to join the American League All-Star roster. This will be his fifth All-Star Game. This time, though, it's a homecoming, as Konerko went to Chaparral High School in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 3, 2011 4:15 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 4:41 pm

McCutchen leads All-Snub team

Andrew McCutchen

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Many years on the day that the All-Star teams are announced, people bemoan the fan voting and selections that pick big names over deserving starters. This year won't be one of those years because for the most part the fans made good picks, as CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler points out the fans and players agreed on 14 of the 17 selections. The lone starter that is obviously not worthy is Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who is expected to come off the disabled list on Monday. Jeter's hitting just .260/.324/.324 so far this season, but he's still Derek Jeter -- not to mention his chase of 3,000 hits.

But no matter how many deserving players make the game, with a roster of 33 (plus another to be added, but even those on the 34th man ballot are eligible for our team, because four of those five won't be voted in) there are deserving players who won't be making the trip to Phoenix.

So here you go, the CBSSports.com All-Snub team:

C: Speaking of the fans getting it right, this is one position where the deserving player was voted in for both leagues, Detroit's Alex Avila and Atlanta's Brian McCann. With the Yankees' Russell Martin, Baltimore's Matt Wieters and St. Louis' Yadier Molina, the five most deserving players at the position are headed to Phoenix. The best of those left out is already in Phoenix -- the Diamondbacks' Miguel Montero, who is hitting .270/.344/.457 with nine homers. 

Paul Konerko1B: This position is so loaded that it's almost as tough picking its All-Snub member as it is the All-Star representatives. The fans got it right with Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder, while Albert Pujols sits at home during the break for the first time since 2002. Both Mark Teixeira and Paul Konerko have strong cases for the All-Snub pick, and in the end I'm going to go with Konerko, who is hitting .317/.387/.567 with 21 homers by a nose over Teixeira and his 25 homers.

2B: Robinson Cano's 2011 hasn't equaled his 2010 and wouldn't be my pick at second base in the American League, but it's hard to get worked up and say the fans got it wrong on a guy hitting .292 with 14 homers at second base. The All-Snub representative is tough here, with the choice between the Rays' Ben Zobrist (.261/.347/.463) and Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox (.277/.391/.406). Because I like speed, I'll take Pedroia and his 15 steals and higher walk rate, but just by a tad. Zobrist is on the 34th man ballot, so he's still got a chance. Apologies also to the Nationals' Danny Espinosa who has 15 homers already.

SS: We've discussed Jeter, but let's just acknowledge the fans noticing Jose Reyes -- even though it'd be tough to call yourself a fan and not notice what Reyes has done. The All-Snub goes to Jhonny Peralta of the Tigers, who is having a fabulous season, hitting .311/.359/.538 with 14 homers and solid defense to go with it.

3B: Arizona's Ryan Roberts wasn't even on the ballot, but he's had a fantastic first half of the season, hitting .251/.338/.430 with 10 homers and 12 stolen bases. He's a terror on the basepaths and has been one of the best all-around players at the position. Kevin Youkilis has better offensive numbers -- including 56 RBI -- but defensively he's played much like a first baseman playing at third. San Diego's Chase Headley has had a good season as well, but his glove also holds him back.

Alex GordonLF: You could certainly have made a case for Kansas City's Alex Gordon as a starter in the American League. Gordon came into the season as yesterday's news, a failed top prospect in the way of the Royals' youth movement. However, he's been the Royals' best player so far this season, hitting .301/.368/.491 with 10 home runs.

CF: I still can't believe Andrew McCutchen's name wasn't on the All-Star list, he's the best all-around center fielder in the game. He's hitting .289/.390/.493 with 12 home runs and 15 stolen bases while leading the surprising Pirates to their first winning record in years. 

RF: I'm fudging here, because the All-Star Game often has outfielders playing out of their normal spots, and here I'm going with the Phillies' Shane Victorino. The Phillies lineup as a whole has struggled for production and consistency, but Victorino has given them both. He's hitting .299/.371/.515 with nine home runs and 34 RBI. He's also a very good defender.

DH: You want some roster flexibility? You get it with this DH, who can also serve as a backup catcher -- oh, and Victor Martinez can bash. Martinez is hitting .335/.383/.490 with six home runs.

Starting pitcher: This one is interesting, because I'm going to exclude CC Sabathia, who not only didn't want to be selected, but will also ineligible to pitch in the game when he starts next Sunday. With Sabathia out of the way, I'm going with the Braves' Tommy Hanson, who is 9-4 with a 2.62 ERA in 15 starts, with more than a strikeout an inning and a league-low 6.2 hits allowed per nine innings.

Middle reliever: These guys are used to being overlooked, but that's not to say they aren't worthy. Since Braves' setup man Jonny Venters was named an All-Star, I'm going with David Robertson of the Yankees. Only in middle relief can a Yankee go unnoticed, but Robertson has been fantastic this season. In 33 1/3 innings this season, the right-hander is 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA, striking out 53 batters in 33 1/3 innings of work. He's allowed just four earned runs this season in 36 outings.

Closer: While Atlanta's Venters was recognized, his closer, Craig Kimbrel, was not. Kimbrel leads the majors with 24 saves and has a 2.57 ERA. He's struck out 67 batters in 42 innings, with 18 walks.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: July 3, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 1:10 pm

34th man candidates revealed

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Not only is Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen left off the National League roster, he's not even on the ballot for the 34th roster spot with online voting at MLB.com. Here are the five candidates from each league for the last spot on their respective All-Star squads.

American League

Alex Gordon, Royals

Adam Jones, Orioles

Paul Konerko, White Sox

Victor Martinez, Tigers

Ben Zobrist, Rays

National League

Michael Morse, Nationals

Shane Victorino, Phillies

Andre Ethier, Dodgers

Todd Helton, Rockies

Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks 

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 10, 2011 1:12 pm

White Sox starting to 'put it on the board'

By Matt Snyder

The Chicago White Sox were a popular pick to the win the AL Central prior to the 2011 season. I can't speak for everyone, but I can tell you why I picked them. The starting rotation is strong and the offense looked to be powerful.

Instead, the offense was abominable through last Friday. The White Sox had dropped eight of nine games and sat in last place in a pretty bad division at 11-22. While the back-end of the bullpen has been a serious concern, the most head-scratching problem with the team was the lack of offense. From April 15 through May 6, the White Sox scored more than three runs four times -- two of those were four-run games. They scored either zero or one run seven times. This was a 20-game stretch.

If you look at the currrent seasonal totals for American League ballclubs, the White Sox rank 10th in runs, 10th in batting average, ninth in on-base percentage and 10th in OPS. The problems were evident all over the place. Adam Dunn had an awful transition to the AL, possibly affected by his appendectomy (though Matt Holliday seems to be just fine). A.J. Pierzynski can't hit anymore. Juan Pierre hasn't been getting hits like he usually does and has gotten caught stealing (eight) more times than he's stolen a base (six). Alex Rios got off to a pitiful start while Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez have scuffled more times than not as well.

You can say what you want about that collection of players, but you cannot dispute there is lots of talent there. I've seen many fans complaining about having a bunch of strikeout machines, but only three AL teams have struck out less than the White Sox. There is lots of power, but there is also speed and it's not an overly old bunch. The oldest one is Paul Konerko and he's been raking.

Now, with a three-game winning streak, it appears the lineup is waking up from its collective funk. Konerko has been consistent and hitting well all season. Carlos Quentin has had some insane hot streaks. He's up and down, but still has a .944 OPS with eight home runs and 23 RBI. They just needed everyone else to wake up and it could very well be happening.

In the past three games, the White Sox have scored 19 runs. Two of those came in the pitcher's paradise known as Safeco Field, too.

Some of the individuals who had been struggling are waking up, which only alleviates the collective pressure on the entire lineup.

Beckham went 6-15 (.400) in the series with two doubles, a home run, three RBI and three runs. Ramirez went 3-8 with a double and a home run in the past two games. Dunn went 5-13 (.385) with three doubles and four runs in the last three. Rios has gone 11 for his past 28 with a 1.036 in the past seven games. Even Brent Morel went 5-8 over the weekend.

The White Sox are still just 14-22 and a whopping 9 1/2 games out on May 10. That's an uphill climb. But the bats are starting to wake up, the bullpen hasn't been near as bad in recent weeks and Jake Peavy is coming back to bolster the rotation. There are five games left on a west-coast trip against some pretty good pitching. If the White Sox win two of those games, the 5-4 trip would be considered a success and they'd be coming home to a seven-game homestand in one of the best hitter's parks in the majors.

If you still don't buy the Indians -- and note that the rest of the division is flawed -- don't count the White Sox out. Remember, baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 8, 2011 11:33 pm

3 up, 3 down: Here's Johnny

By Matt Snyder

Johnny Cueto, Reds. For the second time in a week, a member of the Reds starting rotation returned from injury to make a solid season debut. Cueto's was even better than Homer Bailey's, as he worked six shutout innings, striking out four while only allowing five hits and a walk. He got in trouble a few times, but worked his way out. In a division that is clearly wide open, getting both Bailey and Cueto back will be a big shot in the arm for the defending Central champs.

Paul Konerko, White Sox. For the third time in his career, "Paulie" -- as homerific White Sox broadcaster Hawk Harrelson calls him -- collected five hits in a game. Yes, that's his career high. One of those hits was a double and Konerko added a run scored as the White Sox put togther two straight victories for the first time since April 25-26. Maybe it's what they need to get on track. There is certainly far too much talent to be playing sub-.400 ball.

Ryan Doumit, Pirates. The offensive-minded catcher entered an at-bat in the eighth inning having gone 0-2, but with one crack of the bat Doumit changed everything. A three-run jack put the Pirates up 5-4 and the lead held. The Pirates are now .500 on the season, which might not mean much to many teams, but the Pirates are still in the midst of a historically futile run of sub-.500 seasons. It's really early in the season, but being .500 after 34 games is a testament to the good young talent the Pirates are bringing along. They aren't going to make a playoff run this year or next, but they are on the road to respectability.

Cody Eppley/Yorvit Torrealba, Rangers. Yes, it appears the Rangers got jobbed on a call at first base to allow Nick Swisher an infield single in the Yankees' half of the eighth. First baseman Mike Napoli crossed over the bag and may have nipped it with the ends of his toes and the umpire called Swisher safe, saying Napoli completely missed the bag. It may have been a bad call, but it wasn't blatant. After that call, Eppley unraveled. The blow-by-blow following the play reads: single, single, home run (a grand slam by Francisco Cervelli), ground out, walk, home run by Mark Teixeira. Mercifully, Eppley was finally removed after that. A 6-5 deficit was now 12-5. To lead off the following inning, Torrealba was retired and made a fool of himself going nuts on the first base umpire, getting tossed in the process. So apparently he thought it was the umpire's fault? Give me a break.

Rockies' offense. The Rox were held to seven runs in a three-game series against the Giants, which normally would be forgiveable, but they didn't face Tim Lincecum in the stretch and were handcuffed by Ryan Vogelsong Sunday. Yes, the same Vogelsong who entered Sunday with a career ERA of 5.79 and could only get through four innings against the Mets last time out. He even had a perfect game through five against the now-punchless Colorado offense. The Rockies have lost four in a row and six of seven. There are several problems on the team -- such as late-inning relief pitching -- but they've got to hit the ball better than this. Of course, things could be worse ... see below.

Brewers' offense. The Brewers just concluded a 10-game road trip where they were shut out three times and scored only once three other times (like Sunday in a 3-1 loss). Kyle McClellan might have a 5-0 record, but he entered the game having allowed 14 hits, four walks and nine earned runs (7.59 ERA) in his past two starts. One of those bad outings came against the Astros, too. And he took a shutout into the ninth against these Brewers, who are supposed to have a strong offense. Of course, Yuniesky Betancourt hitting sixth should tell you all you need to know. It's not a deep lineup. And Prince Fielder is gone after this season. Meanwhile they've traded away virtually every decent prospect to make a run this season and are 14-20. Things need to turn around. Fortunately the Brewers return home -- where they're 8-5 -- for a six-game homestand against the Padres and Pirates. It could make them right. We'll see.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 3, 2011 4:39 pm

Paul Konerko enjoying yet another banner year


By Evan Brunell

Last season, in his age 34 season, Paul Konerko posted his best season with a scintillating .312/.393/.584 mark and 39 home runs along with 111 RBI.

This year, Konerko's pacing for his third-best season ever, percentage points behind his 2006 year for second-best.

This isn't supposed to happen in the post-steroid world. When you get older these days, you get worse, not better. Except the opposite is true for Konerko, but he's doing things very differently than last year.

He's walking and striking out less, hitting more ground balls and less fly balls, but that hasn't fazed him en route to a .304/.365/.545 line in 126 PA with eight home runs. That projects to 43 home runs, which would be a career high.

The proof is in how in tune he is with the ball, as virtually anything he swings at is being rifled. In this vein, walk numbers don't matter so much when one is putting good wood on a pitch they can actually handle.

Konerko has offered at 29.2 percent of pitches outside the strike zone, numbers fairly consistent with last season but still way over his career mark of 21 percent. It appears as if he expanded his strike zone last season and found so much success that he's sticking with that. Why not, right? Except the opposite is true for the frequency of swings in the strike zone, as his 64.5 percent career line dovetails nicely with his 64.4 percent mark on the season. That's significantly higher than his career low 59.9 percent offerings last season.

But the real eye-popping number comes into play is this: 97.2 percent.

That's how often he makes contact with pitches in the strike zone, which is way over his 89.1 percent career line, which is also the range in which MLB players average. Simply put, anytime he puts a swing on a pitch that pitch F/X considers a strike, he's making contact. He's doing the same for pitches out of the zone, as his 70.7 percent contact rate is much higher than his 58.3 percent career mark.

But surprisingly, his 97.2 percent contact rate on pitches in the strike zone don't rank first in baseball. Or second. Or... you get the point. He's sixth behind an interesting who's who in Miguel Tejada (99 percent!), Michael Brantley, Prince Fielder, Ian Kinsler and Juan Pierre. Brantley and Fielder are having excellent seasons while Kinsler is doing well enough and Tejada and Pierre are both zeros so far.

OK, so making a high number of contact in the strike zone doesn't automatically mean one is having a great season, but when you look at Konerko's total package, it seems clear that he's zoned in at the plate and as long as that lasts, he'll be making plenty of contact with the ball -- and sending it over the fence.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 
Category: MLB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com