White Sox’ Paul Konerko passed over for spot on Team USA in WBC
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org March 6, 2013 11:08PM
Updated: April 8, 2013 7:55AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Kansas City Royals’ Eric Hosmer, not the White Sox’ Paul Konerko, will replace New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira on the Team USA roster for the World Baseball Classic.
Konerko was mentioned Tuesday by Team USA manager Joe Torre as a potential replacement for the injured Teixeira, and Sox manager Robin Ventura gave that possibility his blessing. Konerko is a bigger name and has a glossier resumé, but Hosmer bats left-handed, making him a favorable option for the right-handed-heavy Team USA squad.
Teixeira was forced out of the WBC after suffering a wrist injury while hitting off a tee before Team USA’s exhibition game Tuesday against the Sox. He is expected to be out eight to 10 weeks, which means he likely will miss at least the first month of the regular season.
Konerko had three hits, a run scored and an RBI in the exhibition game, which ended in a 4-4 tie.
With his size-15 shoes, right-hander Gavin Floyd always has been the bigfoot in the Sox’ clubhouse. That was before left-hander David Purcey was signed as a free agent in November. Purcey wears size 17s, giving him two of the biggest hooves in baseball.
‘‘I’ve had them since my freshman year in high school,’’ said the 6-5 Purcey, who was born in St. Charles. ‘‘For the most part, I grew up wearing a 10½. I was sharing shoes with my dad in the third grade, so at that point I got used to them. A lot of people are like, ‘Man, they’re huge.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, thanks.’ ’’
Purcey, who has a 5.38 ERA in 87 major-league games, struck out 11 Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, tying a Toronto Blue Jays rookie record for a game. He has been around long enough to know a good clubhouse when he sees one, and he likes the atmosphere in Sox camp.
‘‘They give you a lot of leniency with things that don’t matter, but when it comes down to it, they expect you to work hard and play hard,’’ Purcey said. ‘‘That’s all you can ask for. The staff has all been there. They’ve all played, and they treat you as adults.’’
Strength in numbers
After losing Kevin Youkilis in free agency, the Sox stockpiled a variety of options to add depth at third base.
Switch-hitting Josh Bell, who was signed as a free agent in December, is a long shot trying to make an impression with his bat. Bell, who has 100 games of big-league experience with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Baltimore Orioles, is 5-for-11 with a home run, triple, double and five RBI in camp.
‘‘It’s about job security and getting an opportunity to play,’’ Bell said. ‘‘That’s what all of us are fighting for.’’
Bell’s defense has been a hindrance in his career, and he has bobbled a couple of balls in camp. The 26-year-old, who was born in Rockford, is showing some pop at the plate, but the Sox are deep at third with Jeff Keppinger, Conor Gillaspie and Brent Morel.
Bring on the Cubs
The Sox had their first day off of camp Wednesday. They will start left-hander Jose Quintana against the Cubs on Thursday in Mesa. Quintana pitched three perfect innings against the Cincinnati Reds in his first spring outing Saturday.