White Sox sign top draft pick Keenyn Walker
By daryl van schouwen firstname.lastname@example.org July 5, 2011 11:14PM
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 05: Paul Konerko # 14 of the Chicago White Sox hits a solo home run in the second inning against the Kansas City Royals on July 5, 2011 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) R:\Merlin\Getty_Photos\118257860.jpg
Updated: July 6, 2011 2:11AM
The White Sox’ first pick in the draft, fleet center fielder Keenyn Walker of Central Arizona Junior College, reached an agreement with the team Tuesday.
Walker was drafted 47th overall as a supplemental pick. The Sox didn’t have a first-round choice, but Walker received the first-round treatment with a U.S. Cellular Field tour, a meet-and-greet with media and throwing out the first pitch in a No. 11 jersey.
“It feels great,” said Walker, who signed for $795,000. ‘‘I’ve been dreaming about it since I was a little kid and to finally be signed and ready to go out and play feels good.”
Walker, who had 65 stolen bases in 63 games, projects as a leadoff-type hitter. He’ll report to advanced Rookie League Great Falls (Mont.) and be in the lineup Saturday, scouting director Doug Laumann said.
“I think we’d be unrealistic to say that he can move [up the chain] like some of the guys we’ve had the last few years, but we do have the need,” Laumann said. “We’re still real confident in Jared Mitchell [drafted first in 2009]. They’re similar-type players, and we think they both have the chance to be center fielders, top-of-the-order guys, and that’s what we’re looking at for Keenyn. Now we’ve got two of them. It’s not a bad problem to have.”
Paul Konerko stated his case for the All-Star team by hitting a letters-high 0-2 fastball for his 22nd home run and had a single for his 64th RBI on Tuesday against Royals right-hander Felipe Paulino.
Konerko was leading the fan vote for the last American League spot, ahead of Victor Martinez and Alex Gordon. Number of votes aren’t released by MLB. Fans can vote on mlb.com or whitesox.com or by texting ‘‘A3’’ to 89269.
Left-hander John Danks will pitch in two minor-league games as he comes back from a strained right oblique.
“We’re not going to rush him; we’ve got plenty of days to come back,’’ manager Ozzie Guillen said.
The date of Danks’ return after the All-Star break might depend on whether Philip Humber is added to the All-Star team. If Humber pitches, it could affect the Sox’ rotation plans.
Getting it done
Backup catcher Ramon Castro, whose home run against the Royals in the series opener Monday was overshadowed by Adam Dunn’s dramatic shot, is batting .269 (7-for-26) with three home runs and six RBI in his last eight games.
“I go out there to catch a good game, and whatever I do with the bat is a bonus,’’ Castro said. “God forbid anything happens to A.J. [Pierzynski], but if something does, they know I can step in and do the job.’’
Castro, 35, batted .278 with eight homers and 21 RBI in 2010, his first full season with the Sox.