CLEVELAND -- Paul Konerko isn’t afraid to show his support for Carlos Quentin.
Konerko made pointed comments on Friday afternoon when asked about the former White Sox outfielder, who has received league-wide criticism for charging the mound and starting a brawl between the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday after pitcher Zack Greinke hit Quentin with a pitch.
Greinke, who had hit Quentin several times when he pitched for the Kansas City Royals, is out for at least six weeks with a broken collarbone he sustained in the ensuing melee. The brawl interrupted Thursday’s game for more than 10 minutes and continued later when Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp confronted Quentin in the tunnel.
Although the event began when Quentin charged, Konerko doesn’t question his ex-teammate’s motive because he has insight into the sordid history between the two competitors. Thursday was the third time Greinke has struck Quentin with a pitch and the two nearly fought in 2009 before teammates restrained Quentin.
“It was three hit by pitches, but if you watch the games I’ve watched, he’s probably had more than five pitches that have gone over his head,” Konerko said. “So, you know, at some point, it’s going to be the last straw and that’s what happened.”
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Quentin played alongside Konerko with the White Sox from 2008-11.
Though he’s known to be an intense competitor on the field and had been hit by 115 pitches before Thursday’s incident, Quentin had never charged the mound.
Even so, Quentin has been widely bashed because the game scenario -- a 3-2 pitch in a one-run game -- dictates Greinke didn’t intentionally hit the batter. Analysts have called for Quentin to receive a longer suspension than previous brawlers for the harm he caused to Greinke, who signed a $147-million deal with the Dodgers this offseason.
But Konerko thinks that Quentin has never charged the mound is telling. He also believes Padres and Dodgers players don’t know the full story and might have a different view if they did. After Thursday’s game, Quentin implored media members of the media to research the history.
Konerko agrees. He doesn't know if Greinke intended to hit Quentin, but he stressed enough is enough.
“What’s that tell you?” Konerko said about Quentin never charging the mound. “That tells you (Quentin) knows the game and knows he’s on top of plate a lot because he doesn’t move a lot. If I heard that, again it’d be just more evidence of this something more than just getting hit on a 3-2 pitch that got away. … If (Greinke) lets one go up in there and it breaks Carlos’ hand, they would just say ‘Hey, that got away from him. That’s part of the game.’ You know, throwing up in there time and time again and having somebody run out there and break your collarbone, that’s part of the game as well. Hitters get hit up in there a lot and that’s just coined as part of the game. At some point you have to put your foot down and that’s what you saw happen there.”