Opinions mixed on Diamondbacks’ interest in Paul Konerko

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Last week Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com wrote that Arizona has made signing free agent Paul Konerko “an offseason priority” and it sounds like the Diamondbacks won’t exercise a $7.5 million option on their own first baseman, Adam LaRoche.

However, Nick Piecero of the Arizona Republic is skeptical about the Diamondbacks actually making a heavy push to sign Konerko regardless of LaRoche’s status, writing: “The feeling I’m getting from club sources is that it probably won’t happen.”

Here’s more from Piecoro:

The biggest reason? Money. Konerko’s coming off a monster year and even if he were to take a hometown discount, Diamondbacks people still aren’t certain he would be affordable enough to fit into their budget. At least not with holes in the bullpen, rotation, bench and left field that will need to be addressed, as well.

Some wonder if he can play a full season at first base. He’ll be 35 next year and this season played 125 games at first and 23 games as the designated hitter. Plus, it sounds like the Diamondbacks will put a priority on defensive ability when it comes to first base, not a strong suit of Konerko’s. Anyway, I’m sure the Diamondbacks will talk with him, but unless he really wants to play here, I doubt it ends up happening.

It seems unlikely that the rebuilding, usually budget-conscious Diamondbacks would break the bank on a 35-year-old first baseman, and if signing Konerko won’t require breaking the bank then the White Sox will likely make a very strong effort to keep him.

Kris Bryant exits game with sprained right ankle

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The Cubs had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.

Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.

Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.

Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby

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Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.

Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).

Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.