Last week White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko insisted he’d play again despite a fractured bone in his left hand that threatened to end his 18th and final season early, and sure enough now he’s making plans for a late-season comeback.
According to Scott Merkin of MLB.com “the worst-case scenario continues to be Konerko playing at some point during the final four home games of the season against the Royals.”
Of course, in reality “the worst-case scenario” probably involves Konerko not being able to play again at all, although I suppose he could always go out there with an unhealed injury just to finish his career on the field. Or as he put it:
Once I know it’s good, it’s not like I have to go through a program of building it back up. If I can hit a pitched ball, I’ll be available the next night. Or that night. There will be some discomfort, but it’s enough that I can keep on it and not have to worry about it setting me back any more.
Konerko has yet to take any swings or do any baseball-related activities, so it’s tough to gauge his progress beyond his being insistent on returning.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.