Samardzija surprised by Konerko fallout
May, 19, 2012
By Bruce Levine | ESPNChicago.com
The aftermath of hitting Chicago White Sox captain Paul Konerko with a pitch on Friday was a bit surprising to Chicago Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija.
Jerry Lai/US PresswireCubs starter Jeff Samardzija was surprised by talk that his hitting Paul Konerko was deliberate.
The split-finger fastball that tailed up and in to Konerko’s face has been interpreted as a purpose pitch on some national television broadcasts.
“I think those things create a big stir when things actually do happen,” Samardzija said. “In those cases you have to use common sense and know that I have him 0-2 and I’m throwing a splitter at 84 mph. I am not trying to hit him, I want to strike him out. There are times that you look at (a hit by pitch) as pretty obvious what has happened. Mine definitely wasn’t (intentional), but you have to have something to talk about.”
Samardzija was so concerned about Konerko’s health that he checked updates on his condition and tried calling Konerko after batting practice Saturday.
“Knowing that I did not hit Paul intentionally helped me move on after the game,” Samardzija said. “I did have to get over the initial hump of seeing a guy you know and respect take one over the eye. That is one spot for baseball guys that is sacred, around your vision. I’m sure it was a scary one for him but I had to get over the fact. It was an accident. Everyone knows Paul is a tough guy and he will bounce back big. I got word is he is all right and will be back soon so I wish him the best.”
Samardzija had prepared himself to be thrown at when he came to bat the next inning, but he wasn’t shocked when Sox starter Phil Humber waited until Bryan LaHair came up to throw one in his direction.
“I had my right side tightened up a bit (at the plate) because it was Paulie -- he is their leader and he is their guy,” he said. “You have to defend that guy. The execution of that pitch (over LaHair’s head) is another story, because LaHair has a big body with a couple of fat layers down there he could have worn it all right. I could have got him some ice and a bottle of beer if he got hit there.”
Life moves on for the former Notre Dame football All-American, who loved watching both the Cubs and Sox growing up.
“That was a game to watch and play in,” Samardzija said. “Our team played hard and so did they.”