When Paul Konerko decided against retiring and re-signed with the White Sox both sides agreed that he’d be returning in a diminished role, but now that’s a reality: Konerko will not be in the Opening Day lineup today for the first time since 1998.
Konerko is slated to play mostly versus left-handed pitchers and Twins starter Ricky Nolasco is a right-hander. There was some thought to giving Konerko the start anyway, but the 38-year-old first baseman told manager Robin Ventura to treat it just like any other game and stick to the playing time plan.
That means Cuban slugger and $68 million offseason signing Jose Abreu will start in Konerko’s old spot at first base and Adam Dunn will get the nod at designated hitter. And as Ventura pointed out to Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com, maybe Konerko can come off the bench in a big moment and provide some Opening Day excitement that way.
Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz hasn’t pitched in a week due to soreness in his left forearm. He threw a bullpen on Thursday afternoon and said, “I definitely feel like I can maybe help (as a reliever in the playoffs,” as ESPN’s Scott Lauber reports.
The Red Sox clinched the AL East on Wednesday, so they don’t need to rush Pomeranz along. And using him out of the bullpen might ultimately be best as he regressed quite a bit after coming to Boston from San Diego in July. In 13 starts with the Red Sox, Pomeranz has a 4.68 ERA with a 69/24 K/BB ratio in 67 1/3 innings.
Eduardo Rodriguez and Clay Buchholz have been throwing the ball quite well as of late. Paired with Rick Porcello and David Price, the Red Sox still have the depth to be menacing in the postseason.
Remember Jesus Montero? The former Yankees and Mariners prospect? Well, he was picked up by the Blue Jays back in March after the Mariners waived him and played 126 games for Triple-A Buffalo this year. That went alright, I suppose, with Montero hitting .317/.349/.438 with 11 homers. He played a bit of first base too, trying to break the mold he’s been stuck in as a 26-year-old DH.
If this season was a platform for him to make one last push to the bigs, the platform was just pulled out from under him: he has been suspended for 50 games after testing positive for dimethylbutylamine (DMBA), a stimulant in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
The minor league season is over, of course, so he’ll serve that suspension next season. Assuming the Jays keep him in the fold.