come back rather than retire or sign elsewhere
come back rather than retire or sign elsewherein Juhu, wir sind wieder da! Die Wiedervereinigungs-Party steigt hier... 13.06.2019 08:43
von Bellroll33 • | 15 Beiträge | 150 Punkte
CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko, the veteran slugger and team captain who didnt want his career to end on such a sour note, is returning to the Chicago White Sox for another season. The team announced Wednesday that the six-time American League All-Star agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract, opting to come back rather than retire or sign elsewhere. The 37-year-old Konerko will receive $1.5 million in 2014 and $1 million in 2021 under the deal. He will also be paid $1 million annually from 2014 to 2020 under the contract he signed in December 2010. The White Sox won just 63 games last season after finishing second in the AL Central the previous year, and Konerko struggled in a big way. He dealt with a back issue and batted .244 with just 12 homers and 54 RBIs. Even so, the White Sox had said they would have a spot for Konerko if he wanted to return, and hes coming back in a more limited role. "I was really planning on last year being it for me -- having a good year, solid year, team doing at least good if not better and then saying, OK, thats it," Konerko said. "Everything went to shambles. Every single direction you could equate something last year, it was a disaster. To have the opportunity to come back in a lesser role, Im kind of a good employee to have because I have no future, no agenda." The White Sox arent necessarily counting on him to regain the form that made that made him one of the most successful sluggers in franchise history. They see him as a clubhouse leader and a mentor for newcomer Jose Abreu, the Cuban slugger they signed in October. Konerko, who in 15 seasons with the White Sox ranks second on the franchise list to Frank Thomas in homers and RBIs, will back up Abreu at first base and see time at designated hitter along with Adam Dunn. "Even though its somewhat of a reduced role, he can be just as productive throughout our clubhouse not playing as much because he can use a little bit more energy in (serving as a mentor)," manager Robin Ventura said. "Thats something that seems to excite him right now, to be able to be that guy." Konerko said he had started to come to terms last season with the fact that he would be in a reduced role if he played another year. That thought was reinforced through discussions with other teams and he figured the White Sox were probably thinking the same way. They let him know in November that he would be in more of a backup -- and mentorship -- role if he came back. General manager Rick Hahn said they didnt spend much time discussing money when they met last month. Talks heated up over the past week or so, and Konerko informed the White Sox on Tuesday that he would return. "A large part of the role and what we spent a lot of time talking to Paulie about is just his presence in the clubhouse, and being able to continue to mentor some of our young players as we transition this roster over the next several months," Hahn said. Konerko said he talked to former teammate Jim Thome about playing in a reduced role. He also discussed the situation with Dunn, who could wind up with fewer at-bats particularly against left-handers. "I had to really step back and analyze where Im at as a player and all that," Konerko said. "Part of that is to look in the mirror and say, You know what? To go out and play 130 to 150 games, I couldnt sign up for something like that because I think if I did, Id be promising something I dont know if I could deliver on." A .281 hitter over 17 major league seasons, Konerko was acquired from Cincinnati in November 1998. He has hit all but seven of his 434 homers with the White Sox, and he helped them win the World Series championship in 2005 -- the franchises first since 1917. One of the enduring images of that run is Konerko handing the ball from the final out to team Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf at the parade. "Paul Konerko has been the constant face of the White Sox organization and the heart of our clubhouse over the past 15 seasons," Reinsdorf said in a statement. "He certainly earned the right to make this decision on his own, and we are very pleased that he has decided to return for another season. While the accomplishments speak for themselves -- six All-Star Games, a World Series title, 427 home runs with the White Sox -- anyone who is in our clubhouse day-in and day-out knows the value Paul brings to our franchise as a leader, as a teammate, as a mentor and as our captain." Iman Marshall Jersey .C. -- The Bobcats announced theyve signed centre Justin Hamilton to a 10-day contract. 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But this down? Meanwhile, defending champion Connecticut, SMU, Nebraska and UCLA have also started slowly after being ranked in the preseason polls. Only two of the eight teams listed above made my initial NCAA Tournament projection bracket (listed below), but the start of conference play will allow these squads to play themselves back into the tournament discussion. And why cant they? Seven of these teams sport upper-tier head coaches, with several of them Hall- of-Famers or future Hall-of-Famers. Nebraskas Tim Miles is the lone omission. Theres still plenty of time to fix the kinks. And if any of these teams play their way into the tournament dont be surprised if any of them makes a run. Since the tournament expanded to 68 teams in 2011, five double-digit power conference teams have reached the Sweet 16 -- Stanford (10 - 2014), Tennessee (11 - 2014), Oregon (12 - 2013), North Carolina State (11 - 2012) and Marquette (11 - 2011). Double-digit power conference teams are also 13-13 in the second round. Although the Big Ten is down, if Michigan State, Nebraska and Michigan can finish around the 9-9, 10-8 range in conference, that should get them in, although the Spartans are in a better position than the Wolverines and Huskers. The same could be said for ACCs Syracuse, SECs Florida and Pac-12s UCLA. Connecticut and SMU may have a tougher task. Theyll most likely have to sport better in-conference records because the league theyre in arent as deep as the Big Ten, ACC, SEC or Pac-12. Connecticut and SMU might have to get to 12-6 or 13-5 to receive an at-large bid. The Mustangs went 12-6 in the AAC last season and werent selected into the tourney field. Michigan might be the most erratic team of the bunch. John Beilein had to replace four major components and the top two scorers from last years Elite Eight team, but the Wolverines still have versatile scorer Caris LeVert and the 3-point shooting ability of Zak Irvin. They were a top-20 team in the preseason polls, but a mid-December swoon has Michigan scrambling for answers. The Wolverines had a fine showing at the Legends Classic in late November at Barclays Center, narrowly falling to Villanova in the title game. But they dropped four straight coming off a home win against Syracuse on Dec. 2. Michigan suffered a head-scratching home loss to NJIT (RPI 190) before following with another clunker in Ann Arbor to Eastern Michigan. Michigan was routed at Arizona and fell to SMU on Dec. 20 at Crisler Center. The Wolverines opened Big Ten play with a home overtime win against Illinois, but followed that up with a road loss at Purdue. The Spartans are without three starters and the top two scorers from their Elite Eight squad a year ago. Coach Tom Izzo said before the season that his team has upside, but theyve yet to play up to it. That was evident in a 71-64 overtime loss to Texas Southern (RPI 124) on Dec. 20. The Spartans began their league slate with a double-overtime loss to Maryland in what couldve been a solid win to put on their resume. Jacob Kurtzs accidental last-second tip-in of Devon Bookerts miss in a loss to in-state rival Florida State on Wednesday has exemplified Floridas season. Also Wednesday, Daniel Hamiltons trio of free throw misfires in the waning seconds of UConns loss to Temple in overtime was a perfect description of the Huskies year. They just havent been able to close. UConn had Texas beat until Jonathan Holmes knocked down a left corner 3-pointer with two seconds remaining to lift the Longhorns on Nov. 30. The same result happened in its next game when Jack Montagues late triple lifted Yale past the Huskies. The Gators and Huskies clashed Saturday in Gainesville, with the Huskies picking up a much-needed victory. The quartet of Scottie Wilbekin, Casey Prather, Will Yeguette and Patric Young set a school record with 120 career wins, 13 NCAA Tournament victories and four straight Elite Eight appearances -- 2013 Final Four visit. But those are four stalwarts Florida no longer has. The Gators have looked a lot better since a 3-4 start, rattling off four double-digit victories in a row prior to the FSU and UConn defeats. They dropped a 69-67 decision to in-state rival Miami-Florida in their second game of the season and lost a pair in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament -- Georgetown and North Carolina. UF also held a 39-24 halftime advantage against Kansas, but was outscored 47-26 over the final 20 minutes en route to a 71-65 defeat. Florida has a trio of talented guards in Kasey Hill, Eli Carter and Michael Frazier to go along with Dorian-Finney Smith. Its the development of former McDonalds All-American Chris Walker, though, that might propel UF into the Big Dance. Hes yet to show the potential, but its time for him to make his mark. He was suspended for three games earlier this year for a violation of team rules after having to wait until the conclusion of the first semester to see court time last season. A year removed from a postseason ban due to poor APR scores, Connecticut quickly made up for lost time by hoisting its fourth NCAA Title since 1999 last season. But gone is Shabazz Napier. The Huskies still have Napiers runnning mate from a year ago, Ryan Boatright, and the shot-swatting presence of Amidah Brimah.dddddddddddd NC State transfer Rodney Purvis is also a key cog. Due to being in a poor league, UConn scheduled a tough non-conference slate that included Duke, Texas, Florida and Stanford. The Huskies have to beat Stanford later this month to get some resume credibility with a lack of opportunities in the AAC. Two years ago Michael-Carter Williams led Syracuse to the Final Four and Tyler Ennis helped the Orange to a 28-6 mark a year ago. Thats a pair of NBA first- round talents. This season at point guard? Well, another freshman, but Kaleb Joseph still has a lot to learn. Joseph had his best game of the season Dec. 20 in an overtime loss to Villanova. He recorded 10 points and 10 assists, but that was after an eight-turnover performance against Louisiana Tech. The Orange dont own any bad losses like Michigan or Michigan State and a victory over Iowa may turn into something by seasons end. In potential games to boost their resume, Syracuse fell to California in the semifinals of the 2K Classic, at Michigan, at home to St. Johns and at Villanova. The expectations for the Mustangs in June were a lot higher than they were in early November. That was before Emmanuel Mudiay, arguably the No. 1 point guard in the country and a top-five pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, decided to take his talents to China. In September, it was found that Texas Tech transfer Jordan Tolbert would lack the necessary hours to graduate from SMU in one year. He will not play for the school this season. SMUs starting big man Markus Kennedy was then ruled ineligible for the first semester in mid-November, but was cleared to return on Dec. 19. The talent is still there to make the tournament. Nic Moore, Sterling Brown and Keith Frazier make up a formidable backcourt. Like Syracuse, SMU doesnt have any bad losses. The Mustangs began 2-3 with losses at Gonzaga, at Indiana and home against Arkansas, but it ripped off eight consecutive victories prior to losing at Cincinnati -- a critical chance in conference to put a top-50 win on the resume. For the last two seasons Kyle Anderson was a 6-foot-9, do-everything guard/forward for UCLA, leading the team in rebounds (8.8 rpg) and assists (6.5 apg) to go along with 14.6 points per game. Zach LaVine and Jordan Adams were also NBA first-round picks that the Bruins had to replace. UCLA, which advanced to the Sweet 16 in coach Steve Alfords first season, is led by his son Bryce. The Bruins are also guided by senior Norman Powell and talented freshman Kevon Looney. UCLA has yet to post a signature win and lost the first two games of its Battle 4 Atlantis tournament to Oklahoma and North Carolina. The Bruins have also recently lost to Gonzaga at home, Kentucky in Chicago, at Alabama and suffered a 71-39 blowout loss to Utah in the early stages of Pac-12 play. Nebraska was predicted to finish last in the Big Ten last season but instead ended fourth in the standings. With loftier expectations this season, its been a different story. The Huskers dropped a home game to Incarnate Word on Dec. 10 and fell to Hawaii in the Diamond Head Classic. Nebraska also has losses at Rhode Island and home to Creighton. Its lone key win was a double- overtime thriller against Cincinnati on Dec. 13. Nebraska has the talent to make a move in the Big Ten, Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields make up a solid duo, but this is uncharted territory for the program. Ultimately, five of the eight teams listed could make the tournament. Just too much talent and coaching experience for these squads to not make the Big Dance. I also think the bubble could be rather weak this season. Nebraska, UCLA, Connecticut and SMU could be in trouble. Nebraska isnt used to being in this position, while the Bruins, Huskies and Mustangs may have problems because the conference theyre in. But UConn is likely the best team in the AAC and should get in by winning its conference tournament. Notes: RPI rankings are as of Jan. 4. Projected bracket features predicted conference champions. MIDWEST 1. Kentucky 16. New Mexico State/Coastal Carolina winner 8. UNLV 9. Ohio State 4. Seton Hall 13. Georgia Tech/SMU winner 5. Oklahoma 12. Wofford 6. George Washington 11. BYU 3. Utah 14. Northeastern 7. North Carolina 10. Old Dominion 2. Kansas 15. Murray State SOUTH 1. Virginia 16. Florida Gulf Coast 8. Dayton 9. Georgetown 4. Iowa State 13. Stony Brook 5. Stanford 12. Harvard 6. Arkansas 11. Oklahoma State 3. Maryland 14. Syracuse/California winner 7. Colorado State 10. Temple 2. Villanova 15. St. Francis (PA) EAST 1. Duke 16. UCSB/Alabama State winner 8. LSU 9. Northern Iowa 4. Texas 13. Buffalo 5. VCU 12. Stephen F. Austin 6. Butler 11. Green Bay 3. Wichita State 14. NC Central 7. Baylor 10. Iowa 2. Arizona 15. Iona WEST 1. Wisconsin 16. Florida Gulf Coast 8. San Diego State 9. Cincinnati 4. West Virginia 13. Georgia State 5. Notre Dame 12. Providence 6. Washington 11. Penn State 3. Louisville 14. Northeastern 7. St. Johns 10. Georgia 2. Gonzaga 15. 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