Paul Konerko staunchly defends Carlos Quentin in brawl
April 12, 2013 11:24PM
Former Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin broke Zack Greinke’s left collarbone after being hit with a pitch in the sixth inning Thursday. | Denis Poroy~Getty Images
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The pitchers: Chris Sale (1-0, 1.84 ERA) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (0-1, 6.97).
Updated: May 14, 2013 6:20AM
CLEVELAND — Paul Konerko has seen enough to adamantly defend former teammate Carlos Quentin for charging Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke on the mound after Greinke hit him with a pitch on the shoulder Thursday night.
When he was with the White Sox, Quentin was hit twice by Greinke when Greinke pitched for the Royals. Konerko also said Greinke threw over Quentin’s head five times.
There were no punches thrown in the bench-clearing melee that ensued — Quentin broke Greinke’s left collarbone when he bull-rushed the mound — but Konerko pulled no punches standing on Quentin’s side.
“If he 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,’ ’’ Konerko said. “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. Because 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.’’
Greinke has hit nine Sox. Quentin crowds the plate and has been hit 116 times in his career, but he had never charged the mound before.
He said if the Dodgers knew the heated history between Greinke and the Sox, they might change their view on his actions.
“I’m not surprised, no,’’ Konerko said of Quentin’s reaction. “Like he said, if you know the history and you know the pieces of the puzzle, it all kind of makes sense.
“I think he was hit by three [Greinke] pitches, but if you watch the games I’ve watched, he’s probably had more than five pitches [from Greinke] that have gone over his head.
“So at some point, it’s going to be the last straw, and that’s what happened.’’
Konerko said he had no way of knowing if Greinke’s 3-2 pitch in the sixth inning of a one-run game was intentional.
He said he understood why Quentin couldn’t take it anymore, though, and finally charged the $147 million pitcher. There’s a first for everything.
“Right. So what does that tell you?’’ Konerko said. “I mean, it tells you he knows the game, and he knows he’s on top of the plate. He knows he doesn’t move a lot. So if I heard that, it would be just more evidence of this being something more than just getting hit on a 3-2 pitch that got away. Greinke has well-above-average control. Some would say maybe the best control in the game.’’
Konerko, who played with Quentin from 2008 to ’11, is finding himself in the minority on this one. That didn’t matter to him.
“I’m going to stick up for the hitter most of the time,’’ he said. “And I’m definitely sticking up for Carlos, flat-out, because, again, it takes one fastball up in there to break a bone and give you a concussion. Your season is over. It just gets chalked up as, ‘It got away.’
‘‘How many times can you let a ball get away from somebody before you go do something. I guess that many. There it is.”