Posts Tagged ‘Paul Konerko’

White Sox notebook, 9/6

September 6, 2011 Comments off

Flowers: Gem fun for ‘everybody but me’

By Jordan Schelling /

MINNEAPOLIS — If anyone on the White Sox was not enjoying right-hander Zach Stewart’s bid for perfection on Monday night, it was catcher Tyler Flowers.As the one tasked with calling the game behind the plate, the pressure of making all the right calls to keep Stewart’s perfect game intact made for a stressful situation.

“It was fun for probably everybody but me. It was pretty stressful back there. I didn’t want to screw up and cause something bad to happen,” Flowers said.

“Now that it’s over, it was a lot of fun. … But he trusted in me the whole game, and that’s pretty good.”

Even though Flowers is now able to enjoy Stewart’s one-hitter, in which the right-hander retired 27 of the 28 batters he faced, the White Sox catcher did make one call that he could question.

Facing Twins third baseman Danny Valencia to lead off the eighth inning, Flowers and Stewart went with a 2-2 sinker off the plate for the eighth pitch of the at-bat. Valencia reached out and slapped the pitch a few inches off the plate and sliced it into right field for a double and the Twins’ lone baserunner.

“Now I do,” Flowers said of if he second-guessed himself. “But at the time, I thought that was the pitch to go with. We sped him up inside on a couple. [Valencia] was on the slider. [Stewart] had a good sinker all day. So go with what got you there. Sinker away.

“I was hoping we were going to freeze him. It was a little bit off the plate, too. It was a good pitch he hit. Tip your hat to Danny. He did a good job of putting the ball in play.”

Konerko given a breather against Twins

MINNEAPOLIS — After playing in each of the past 30 games for the White Sox, first baseman Paul Konerko got a day off Tuesday in the third game of their series against the Twins.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he tried to keep Konerko out of one of the games of Monday’s day-night doubleheader, but Konerko opted for the full day off instead. He should return to the lineup for Wednesday’s series finale at Target Field.

“I think today’s perfect because tomorrow we have a night game,” Guillen said. “This kid has been playing every day.”

Konerko last sat out when he missed three games in early August with a calf injury. Over the last month, Konerko has batted .333 with three home runs, 16 RBIs and an OPS of .930.

Adam Dunn started at first base and went 0-1 with three walks and a run scored in the club’s 3-0 win.

Axelrod hopes to get jump on Spring Training

MINNEAPOLIS — When he was not among the first group of September callups for the White Sox, right-hander Dylan Axelrod figured he would not be joining the big league club for the season’s final month.

But to his surprise, he got the call on Monday to pack his bags and join the team at Target Field.

“I knew I had a really good, solid year, but after the initial callups, it did come as a surprise,” Axelrod said. “I thought I was going home, and then yesterday I woke up, got a call at 11 a.m., had to go over to the field, get all my stuff, and I had a 1:50 p.m. flight.”

Axelrod arrived between games of the day-night doubleheader and suited up for the White Sox against the Twins for the nightcap.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen did not need to call upon his bullpen Monday night with Zach Stewart tossing a one-hitter, but Axelrod could get in a game soon with the White Sox bullpen having been overworked lately.

When he does see game action, Axelrod will be making his Major League debut.

“I just hope to make a good impression,” Axelrod said. “It is a building block for Spring Training next year, and as I try to come out and try to make the team next year. I’ll be ready whenever they tell me they need me.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stewart making good impression for future

September 5, 2011 Comments off

By Jordan Schelling /

MINNEAPOLIS — In his first White Sox start, Zach Stewart got his first career win against the Twins. Making his fifth start with Chicago on Monday night, Stewart delivered a masterful performance against the Twins to record his first career complete game and shutout.Stewart threw a one-hitter, retiring 27 of 28 batters faced, with a leadoff double in the eighth inning by Danny Valencia being the only blemish on his near-perfect game. Impressively, he did it after allowing 13 runs over 10 2/3 innings in his previous two starts.

“I was a little more down in the zone today compared to the last two,” Stewart said after the 4-0 win in the second game of a doubleheader sweep. “I didn’t miss as many spots I guess.”

The rookie right-hander also said he started a few batters with breaking balls after noticing early in the game the Twins were jumping on fastballs early in the count.

Whatever he did, it amounted to an impressive outing, in which Stewart delivered a career-high 114 pitches and struck out a career-best nine batters.

“He’s been a real nice addition. I think he’s a quality big league starter,” White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. “Obviously, he’s been showing that, too. He’s got not only a good arm, but he’s got some touch and he knows how to pitch, which for a young guy that’s pretty good.”

Stewart said he was not really aware of the perfect game until the fifth or sixth inning, and that he really did not let it affect him until he tried to lock in and focus on finishing it out in the eighth.

Stewart is 2-3 with a 4.56 ERA this season, and he has gone 2-2 with a 4.41 ERA since being acquired by the White Sox from the Blue Jays in late July.

Aside from his poor outings in his previous two starts entering Monday’s game, Stewart is 2-1 with a 1.25 ERA in his three other White Sox starts. He’s made quite an impression along the way as well.

“He’s had some really good starts. It’s good to see a young guy come out like that and pitch the way he’s pitched,” said White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who watched Stewart’s dominant outing from the bench.

“He’s got good composure, he throws the ball over the plate, he’s not afraid, and he made guys put the bat on the ball. When you put those things together in this ballpark that’s not easy to hit home runs in, you’ve got a recipe for success.”

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was especially impressed with Stewart’s composure on the mound after giving up his first hit of the game in the eighth.

After giving up that hit, Stewart picked up right where he had left off, retiring the final six batters he faced after getting the first 21 batters of the game.

“This kid, to give up the no-hitter, perfect game, whatever it was, to right away throw the ball around the plate again, [saying] ‘Go hit it.’ Man on third base, no panic,” Guillen said. “That’s a good thing when kids carry themselves that way on the mound.”

White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, who worked behind the plate after Pierzynski caught the first game of the split doubleheader, also liked Stewart’s reaction after the 22nd batter of the game finally broke through for a hit.

Flowers said he hopes Stewart’s performance is something the White Sox can build upon.

“It’s good to see for the future,” Flowers said. “Hopefully, we can put a run together here toward the end, but if not, it’s good to have that kind of arm for the next few years.

“I thought he was going to crack a smirk or something out there [after the double], but he was like, ‘All right. Let’s get the next guy.’ So that’s good to see.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.