Paul Konerko: “I’ll finish on the field”

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White Sox 1B/DH Paul Konerko vows to return before the end of the season, saying “I’ll finish on the field,” via Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune. Konerko added, “I don’t care if I go up there and take three pitches and strike out, I’ll finish on the field.” In fact, the 38-year-old veteran seems rather optimistic, saying that returning for only the final series at home would be a “worst-case scenario.”

Konerko suffered a fracture in the sesamoid bone in his left hand applying a tag on Twins SS/CF Danny Santana following a bunt in the eighth inning on Tuesday. Konerko, who has played in parts of 18 seasons in the major leagues, has posted subpar offensive numbers, slashing .220/.272/.344 with five home runs and 22 RBI in 202 plate appearances.

Padres fire Andy Green

Andy Green
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The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.

Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:

I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.

In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.

“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”

Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.

For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.