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.
Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.
Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.
Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.
Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.
The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.