Results tagged ‘ Wrigley Field ’

Konerko honored by Cubs’ classy move

Paul Konerko and Jeff Samardzija have been tied together as part of the Crosstown Cup White Sox/Cubs rivalry since Samardzija hit the White Sox captain in the left side of the face with a pitch in the third inning of a May 18, 2012 contest at Wrigley Field.

With that unfortunate moment now well in their past, it seemed only fitting that Samardzija would present Konerko with a retirement gift from the Cubs prior to Tuesday’s contest in Konerko’s last game at Wrigley.

“It was kind of fitting that he gave it to me and he’s doing great right now,” said Konerko of Samardzija. “Good for him.”

“I was asked to do it and jumped on the opportunity right away,” Samardzija said. “When the whole thing went down when I hit him, the first thing I said was it’s the worst guy it could happen to because I respect him more than anyone in this game.”

Konerko was presented with the No. 14 from the Wrigley Field scoreboard, representing his jersey number. He is certainly not on any sort of retirement tour and isn’t looking for gifts at each final stop. But Konerko definitely appreciated the pregame gesture.

“That was cool. Classy move by them. I mean I certainly didn’t expect it and it’s really cool that they gave me it,” Konerko said. “That’ll definitely go up in the house somewhere. You grow up watching games on TV at Wrigley Field and you know the history.

“The fact that you can go out and play your career and at the end of it you’re at a place like that where if you do something at the place, it’s pretty neat. It’s definitely not lost on me how cool that is. I definitely took it in, and that was nice.”

A healthy dose of respect also exists between the presenter and recipient Tuesday.

“You talk about losing two guys in the game like [Derek] Jeter and Konerko, it’s tough. It’s bad for the game,” Samardzija said. “We love to see those guys and how long they played and we’d love to see them keep playing. Outstanding man, and hopefully he has a strong year to end it and enjoys it too and enjoys the run he had and soaks it all in.”

“He’s a good guy. He’s doing great,” said Konerko of Samardzija. “I’m a fan of his as far as the way he pitches and he’s aggressive out there and he swings the bat well on top of it. I don’t know him well; I’ve met him a few times off the field but you know his teammates really like him and he’s respected over there. The guys that are with him every day, they’re not going to be wrong on that stuff.”

Dunn appreciates praise, respect from Guillen

While Ozzie Guillen was holding court in his return to Chicago at Wrigley Field Tuesday night, Adam Dunn was getting ready to help the White Sox to another victory some 983 miles away at Fenway Park in Boston.

Guillen and Dunn have not spoken directly since Guillen’s White Sox managerial tenure came to an end after the 2011 season, although they have exchanged friendly messages through Austin Kearns, a good friend of the White Sox designated hitter and a current player for the Marlins manager. The two apparently don’t have to talk directly, though, for Guillen to express his profound respect for the affable veteran.

That effusive praise came through loud and clear during Guillen’s comments to the large group of assembled media in Chicago. Guillen spoke of the positive way which Dunn handled his forgettable debut with the White Sox in ’11 and added how happy he was for Dunn to find success in 2012.

Dunn, who is as laid back as a summer Sunday afternoon and seems to be truly enjoying this return to his previous norm as he promised during Spring Training, appreciated Guillen’s kind words.

“Absolutely it means something,” Dunn told MLB.com after singling, walking and stealing a base in the White Sox 7-5 victory over the Red Sox. “I talked to (Guillen) about it all the time. He did everything he could to help me out.

“Everything he did was to help me. He gave me every opportunity in the world. You know, I feel bad. I feel bad for that whole staff that was here. I know they took a whole bunch of (garbage) each and every day about it. You know, it means a lot: (Guillen) has been in baseball a long time.”

This high-profile free agent signing came in to the White Sox on a four-year, $56-million deal, as almost the centerpiece of the team’s “all-in” campaign. So with that scenario in mind, Dunn still puts the previous team’s problems upon his broad shoulders—including, in part, the strained relationship between Guillen and general manager Ken Williams.

“I’ll take it all,” Dunn said. “I feel like I’m responsible for all that more than anybody else. You know, it (stinks) how it went down but everybody now seems to be doing good.”

That 2011 campaign is a distant memory for Dunn, where he has been trying to keep it since the start of the 2012 season. With the Major League lead in homers at 28 and 65 RBIs to go with those homers, not to mention the 2012 season fast approaching the end of July, Dunn has every right to believe such an expectation would be followed.

Comments from Guillen’s Tuesday press conference put a positive spin on that rough year for Dunn. In fact, Dunn was put in the same category as Jim Thome and Paul Konerko by Guillen, which is the highest compliment in player comparison coming from Guillen.

“If there’s one player I have more respect for in the game than Thome, Konerko, I think Dunner is,” said Guillen to the large group of assembled media. “What Dunner went through last year, and he took it like a man. He was the same guy in the clubhouse and dugout every day.

“He just had a bad year. It takes a very strong man mentally to go through what he went through last year. I’m very happy for him and his family for what he’s doing right now, and he knows that.

“I’m not saying this about Dunner because I’m here,” Guillen said. “He knows how I feel about him and I’m very glad he’s having the season he’s having.”

Peavy exits early

The next time a fifth starter will be needed by the White Sox comes Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field against the Cubs. This makeup game from a postponement on June 16 looked to be a prime late-season battle between two heated crosstown rivals who were set up for an exciting Sept. postseason push.

And now? The heated rivals still will be present but those postseason pushes have hit a couple of respective bumps in the road. The White Sox sit five games out in the American League Central, and the Cubs have a better chance in the NL Wild Card then the NL Central.

Regardless of the ramifications of the afternoon contest, and by the way, the early forecast for Thursday is 75 and mostly sunny, this date also was being pointed to by White Sox fans because it looked as a possibility for Jake Peavy to make his debut. But judging by Saturday’s results in Peavy’s fourth Minor League rehab start, that trip to the mound is no certainty.

Peavy had a target of 100 pitches and possibly six innings in another start with Triple-A Charlotte at Norfolk, a Minor League start primarily brought about because of tightness he felt after taking a line drive off of his pitching elbow during a scoreless effort this past Monday. The right-hander worked only 3 1/3 innings against Norfolk, giving up two runs on four hits, striking out four and throwing just 68 pitches, and according to the Chicago Tribune, Peavy left the game due to a recurrence of the tightness in his right elbow brought about by the Wes Timmons’ line drive.

So, where does this leave Peavy? Well, there was some doubt as to whether he would start in a National League ballpark from the outset. The partially torn tendon in his right ankle, which has sidelined him for close to three months, came about through Peavy running the bases and is more likely to be bothered by baserunning than anything pitching-releated. For that reason, White Sox general manager Ken Williams ruled out Peavy from that Cubs game a few weeks ago.

Manager Ozzie Guillen said during this road trip that if he needs Peavy Thursday and if Peavy is ready, then it shouldn’t matter if it’s at Wrigley. Guillen joked that he would tell the umpires the White Sox have an automatic out every time Peavy was due to hit, without even letting him get in the batter’s box.

One thing is for certain: Peavy wants to get back out to pitch– at Wrigley, at U.S. Cellular Field or on the West Coast. During an interview at Fenway Park, Peavy characterized this whole extended rehab process as a tougher period for him than all of the offseason trade rumors he had to deal with swirling around

“No, this is tougher–simply because I want to play,” Peavy said. “Being hurt is never fun and trying to get back into this and speeding it up has been frustrating at times. I think I’m starting to see the other side and looking forward to the day I can get out and help.”

Meet Buehrle in St. Louis

Mark Buehrle wants to pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals.

The All-Star left-hander is not saying the move has to happen today or at the end of his four-year, $56 million contract after the 2011 campaign. But the native of St. Charles, Missouri, who grew up a diehard Cardinals fan, has a desire to work for his hometown team before he retires with his family to their Missouri property.

After picking up his ninth win in 11 decisions this season on Tuesday night, Buehrle couldn’t avoid bringing up the topic. Actually, he could avoid it, but with the 2009 All-Star Game to be played in St. Louis, Buehrle was having too much fun tweaking all the people who get fired up when he speaks about this issue.

“I want to play for the Cardinals one day. Oops. I shouldn’t have said that,” said Buehrle with a broad grin, knowing exactly what he had just said. “People can rip me and say whatever they want to say. Eventually, one day, I would like to put a Cardinals uniform on and pitch for them.”

This particular topic came up when Buehrle once again talked about what a thrill it will be to pitch in front of all his hometown friends and family. As of this past Sunday afternoon, Buehrle already had rounded up 36 tickets to the Midsummer Classic.

In playing along with Buehrle’s playful jabs, one of the reporters asked Buehrle about a story at the start of Spring Training addressing how the left-hander might retire at the end of his current contract. Buehrle had an answer ready for this question.

“I’ll just sign a one day contract,” Buehrle said. “Stand on the mound, throw one pitch and have them take me out.

“I would love to put a jersey on and pitch. It’s a dream come true. I’m from St. Louis. Born and raised a Cardinals fan. A lot of people won’t be happy, but a lot of people in our clubhouse want to play for their hometown team. I’m the one saying it and getting in trouble.”

Before White Sox fans make too much of Buehrle’s comments, remember how much he brings to each season, each start, in Chicago. Also remember how much fun Buehrle has within the game and how he loves to press the issue with this hot-button topic.

Also, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Buehrle wanting to finish what figures to be a historic career with the team he grew up following.

But here’s one last comment that should make White Sox fans happy, which is Buehrle’s response to facing the Cubs as part of the Cardinals someday.

“As long as it’s at Busch,” Buehrle said. “I don’t care to come to Wrigley to face them.”

All about Ozzie

As me and my media bretheren were milling around the White Sox clubhouse Wednesday morning, Ozzie Guillen called me into his office to show off a new shirt he had purchased.

The shirt read, “Ozzie mows Wrigley,” and had Guillen on a riding motor super-imposed into a rendering of Wrigley Field. He apparently bought the shirt off of some street t-shirt vendor, with many other politically incorrect options to be had, I’m sure. Actually, I’ve seen many of them.

Guillen laughed at the joke on the shirt, poking fun at his dislike for the visiting facilities at Wrigley Field. But he also told the vendor that while he might mow Wrigley Field, he’s not standing out in the rain selling t-shirts like this guy was on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Guillen had an equally humorous take when asked about the lack of outbursts coming from him and Cubs manager Lou Piniella this season. Are they getting calmer as they advance in years?

“Well, I think Lou is getting old and I’m getting poor. I’m broke. Every year I donate too much money to Major League Baseball,” said Guillen, drawing his daily laugh from the media. “I don’t think we need it.

“One thing I follow in baseball is Lou’s press conference. I never miss them, I never do. I think they’re fun.”

Guillen had harsh words for his team following last Monday’s first-game loss to the Tigers during a home doubleheader. The White Sox seem to have responded to his challenge.

“I say what I have to say the day we played poorly, I say that because of the way we were playing,” Guillen said. “Right now, I don’t think we have to do it. When we have to do it, we’re going out and doing it.

“Sometimes, it’s like when your parents, day in and day out, they are all over you, and then all of a sudden the kids just start making fun of you and don’t listen to you. You have to pick your spots when to say stuff, and how.”

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