Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Is Team USA considering Konerko?
By Doug Padilla
With the forearm injury to the New York Yankees' Mark Teixeira, suddenly Team USA is looking for another first baseman to play in the World Baseball Classic.
The Chicago White Sox's Paul Konerko sure put in a nice audition Tuesday with three hits against Team USA, which was in Glendale, Ariz., for a tune-up game.
The United States will start its WBC first-round games Friday against Mexico in Phoenix's Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. It plays Italy on Saturday and Canada on Sunday.
Team USA is believed to want a left-handed hitter to replace Teixeira at first base so players like Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder seem to be the preferred roster-replacement candidates. Konerko remains a strong possibility, though.
Of American League hitters, who had at least 250 plate appearances against right-handed pitching last season, Konerko had the 11th best batting average at .307 and the 22nd best OPS at .861. The added benefit is that unlike Howard and Fielder, Konerko already is in Arizona.
Ultimately, though, Fielder could represent the best option for Team USA. He had the seventh-best batting average against right-handers at .328 and the third best OPS at 1.017.
According to USA Today, the White Sox are willing to grant Konerko permission to join Team USA.