Jeff Samardzija reaches out to Paul Konerko after hitting him in face with pitch
By GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com May 20, 2012 12:16AM
Cubs batter Alfonso Soriano homers with a man aboard to get the Cubs on the scoreboard in the ninth inning of the Chicago White Sox 7-4 win over the Chicago Cubs Saturday May 19, 2012 at Wrigley Field. | TOM CRUZE~Sun-Times
Updated: July 19, 2012 1:15AM
Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija said he tried to contact White Sox slugger Paul Konerko after hitting him in the face with a pitch Friday and plans to keep trying.
‘‘I talked to a couple of his teammates,’’ Samardzija said Saturday. ‘‘I know they took him in right away. I got word from a couple of guys that he’s doing all right. I’ll reach out to him here and make sure he hears from me.’’
‘‘It was absolutely not intentional,’’ he said. ‘‘If there’s guys I’m going to hit, Paulie’s definitely not one of them. He does everything the right way, man.’’
Konerko’s eye was still swollen shut Saturday. Adam Dunn took his place at first base, and he’s not expected to play Sunday, either.
‘‘I wish him the best,’’ Samardzija said. ‘‘You’re professional. You expect more out of yourself than to take an offspeed pitch and let it float away like that. It’s just unfortunate. Just two or three inches one way, and that’s where it happens.’’
Samardzija was the first Cubs player to bat after that. Even after telling Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski the 2-2 pitch was a mistake that got away from him, he braced for retaliation.
‘‘I was ready for it,’’ Samardzija said. ‘‘I don’t mind. I like playing baseball. . . . It is what it is. Sometimes you deserve it.’’
The Cubs lost their second catcher in three days — and third in less than three weeks — to injury Saturday. That eliminated the last shred of depth from one of their deeper positions entering the season.
All of that led to a reunion with the popular Koyie Hill, whom the Cubs acquired for cash from the Cincinnati Reds’ Class AA team in Pensacola, Fla. Hill will take over as the Cubs’ starter until Welington Castillo (knee) or Steve Clevenger (oblique) returns.
‘‘It’s crazy, beautiful, frustrating, rewarding — it’s everything,’’ said Hill, 33, who spent the last five seasons with the Cubs but was starting to talk about retirement by the time they needed him this time around.
Castillo might miss up to a week with a slight tear in the medial collateral ligament in his left knee suffered Friday — a few hours before Geovany Soto had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.
LaHair: ‘It’s over’
First baseman Bryan LaHair apparently has put the purpose pitch Sox right-hander Philip Humber threw in his direction Friday behind him.
‘‘I’m sure it’s over,’’ said LaHair, who was irate Friday about the head-level height of the pitch, which came an inning after Konerko was hit. ‘‘Nobody was trying to hurt anyone. He missed me. I’m past it.’’
Right-hander Randy Wells was recalled from Class AAA Iowa to take the roster spot vacated by Kerry Wood’s retirement.
† Soto officially was put on the 15-day disabled list to make room for Hill. The Cubs face another move Tuesday, when left-hander Travis Wood joins the rotation from Iowa.
† Reliever Blake Parker left with a tight hamstring in the eighth. He said he felt fine after the game.
Contributing: Toni Ginnetti