Paul Konerko is on a ridiculous tear right now, hitting .466 with six homers and a 1.303 OPS in his last 20 games dating back to May 4.
Even more amazing is that sitting out three days in the middle of that stretch after taking a Jeff Samardzija pitch to the face didn’t slow him down, as Konerko returned to the lineup with a nice shiner on his eye and has gone 14-for-24 (.583) with three homers since.
Yes, seriously: .583.
Overall this season Konerko is hitting .399 with 11 homers and a 1.157 OPS in 45 games, leading the league in batting average and on-base percentage while ranking second to only Josh Hamilton in slugging percentage and OPS. And he’s doing it at age 36.
The Rays have traded right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, per team announcements on Saturday evening. The Twins will receive minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios in the deal. Despite previous speculation, recently-DFA’d outfielder Corey Dickerson was not included in the trade.
With Odorizzi, the Twins finally have the front-end starter they’ve been seeking all winter. It’s a bargain deal as well, as the 27-year-old righty is under contract through 2019 and didn’t require the club to part with any of their top-shelf prospects in the trade. Odorizzi will be looking to stage a comeback in 2018 after a dismal performance with the Rays last year, during which he eked out a career-worst 4.14 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 through 143 1/3 innings.
Palacios, 21, ranked no. 27 in the Twins’ system last season. He split his year between Single-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers, raking a combined .296/.333/.454 with 13 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 539 plate appearances. He’s expected to continue developing at shortstop, though he’s also seen limited time at second and third base during his four-year career in the minors.