Konerko on pace with Josh Hamilton?

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Konerko on pace with Josh Hamilton?

By Paul LaTour
CSNChicago.com

Less than two weeks ago, Paul Konerko shook his head in disbelief about the amazing season Josh Hamilton was already having.

Hamilton might be the one shaking his head now.

Konerko overtook Hamilton for the American League batting lead Wednesday after a three-hit performance in the White Sox 6-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field. Konerko is now hitting .381, which includes going 17 of 30 (.567) during his current nine-game hitting streak.

Its stupid, honestly. Its like hes playing video games, Sox starter Chris Sale said. Hes just so talented and has such a good eye and hes so patient. He doesnt get down on himself when something goes wrong. You saw it tonight. Hes just hitting the ball all over the place and putting good swings on good pitches.

Since missing two games after being hit in the left eye with a pitch by Jeff Samardzija on Friday, Konerko has five hits in eight at-bats with a double, home run and three runs scored.

I dont know if you say you can expect that, but seeing how much work he puts in, hes having a really good season, manager Robin Ventura said. To be able to come back with what happened over the weekend and still swing it the way he has is nice.

Konerko still sports an ugly black eye, but said otherwise there are no remnants from the beaning, which came in his first at-bat following his two-run home run.

I havent even thought about it, Konerko said of the injury. Obviously I cant see it. Nothing is bothering me looking out of it, so until I look in the mirror thats the only time I see that something is wrong with it.

Despite what appeared to be another strong outing at the plate, Konerko was modest in assessing his performance.

I really wasnt that good the whole night, he said. I took one really good swing at the end there and hit a home run, and it turns into a good night. But I was kind of feeling for it all night. I had a bad first at-bat with guys on.

Konerko was referring to his strikeout in the first after the White Sox put the first three runners on base. But after his performance the rest of the way, he might be the only one who remembered that.

Today on CSN: White Sox face Athletics in spring training game

Today on CSN: White Sox face Athletics in spring training game

The White Sox will battle the Oakland Athletics today, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins at 3:05 p.m.

Today's starting pitching matchup: Carlos Rodon vs. Kendall Graveman

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Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes

 

White Sox ace Jose Quintana puts on a show in victory over Reds

White Sox ace Jose Quintana puts on a show in victory over Reds

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Those pesky, persistent trade rumors continue to be no match for White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana. 

The 2016 All-Star was outstanding on Thursday afternoon as he made his first Cactus League appearance in nearly a month. Still waiting on word if he'll be the team's Opening Day starter, Quintana pitched seven scoreless innings against a thin Cincinnati Reds lineup in a 4-2 White Sox victory at Camelback Ranch. 

Pitching in front of more than a dozen scouts, Quintana limited Cincinnati to two hits in a 79-pitch outing and struck out three.

"I just try to turn the page quick and keep going," Quintana said. "Never watch behind me and try to go ahead every time I can. I want to put my team in a good position to win games. It's good when you win games in spring training. It brings good energy for the season."

Quintana on Thursday followed the same format he did for Colombia against Team USA in the World Baseball Classic on March 10 as he retired the first 17 Reds hitters he faced. Even after he surrendered a hit, Quintana got back to work. Featuring a fastball that sat between 91-93 mph early, Quintana had Cincinnati hitters off-balance all day. After he exited the game, Quintana sprinted to the right-field bullpen to throw 15 more pitches as he continues to build arm strength.

The outing is more of the same consistency the White Sox have come to expect from their trusted lefty. It's also why they refuse to remove the high sticker price attached to Quintana, who has competed at least 200 innings the past four seasons with a 3.32 overall ERA in that span.

As Opening Day approaches, the White Sox continue to listen to offers for Quintana but have refused to budge on their price. Manager Rick Renteria said on Wednesday he needed a few more days before naming his starter for the April 3 opener, which suggests the team would still trade Quintana at this late date. But unless one of the team's suitors finally antes up, it's hard to believe that anyone other than Quintana would take the mound against the Detroit Tigers when the 2017 season kicks off at Guaranteed Rate Field.

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Quintana is on target to pitch again Tuesday, though perhaps in a minor league game as the White Sox face Kansas City that day. His next turn would come on April 2, which would easily afford the team the chance to push him back one day. 

Giving Quintana the nod in the opener would be the latest honor bestowed upon him. Earlier this month, Quintana dominated the eventual WBC champion as he didn't allow a hit until there were two outs in the sixth inning. That performance came after an outstanding campaign in which Quintana finally appeared in an All-Star Game.

All of the above has Quintana feeling pretty good about his abilities. 

"I have confidence in me, and every time I go out there I just try to have fun and enjoy that time," Quintana said. "I spend good time with my teammates. Every time I go to the mound, I feel pretty good."

Nicky Delmonico homered and singled in a run in the victory for the White Sox. He drove in three runs and hit his third homer of the spring. Leury Garcia also had two hits and made a pair of nice defensive plays at second base.