Life without Paulie

Life without Paulie
Missing you, big guy // Jose M. Osorio, Tribune Photo

Fitting in with his seemingly gradual recovery from concussion symptoms, Paul Konerko has been placed on the special 7-day DL that exists just for that injury.

The 7-day concussion DL is an odd one.  It’s not retroactive for missed time, so Konerko is not eligible to return until next Friday.  Also, there was significant reference made to a certain criteria Konerko had to meet to even be eligible for the list; a criteria he presumably met by reacting to a blow to a head with vomiting.

Both elements serve to add some unintended hesitance to the decision to place a player on the list, and the White Sox understandably waited until gameday to make their decision.  Their patience offered the chance to bring Konerko back in time, but that didn’t work out, and they played Friday’s game short-handed.

Since the Sox bench is terrible, they pretty much gave up a lineup spot against the A’s, and didn’t have a chance at seeing any production in Konerko’s stead.

Wha, uh, hmmrph…and this video is from last night, you say?

Danks’ heroics–and a less light-hearted discussion about side-arming righties being left in to face lefties who are apparently very familiar with them–aside, the White Sox will make a corresponding move to fill their 25th spot on Saturday.

Since it’s a power-hitting 1st basemen that’s gone down with an injury, and Dan Johnson is a power-hitting 1st basemen in AAA Charlotte Knights, he figures to be the lucky man getting a week-long cup of coffee/prelude to a September call-up.

Johnson is having a super-productive season in AAA as a 32 year-old.  After battling wrist injuries with the Rays last year, Johnson is hitting .268/.397/.512 with 26 home runs in 2012.  He slumped in July, but has already homered three times in August, including Friday night.  He’s walked more than he’s struck out this season.

Woe awaits those that get excited about players in their 30’s going berserk in the minors, but the production at least indicates that Johnson is healthy and feeling like his old quad-A superstar self (222 career MiLB home runs).

Back in the day, Johnson showed himself  to be regularly capable of league-average offense (.235/.334/.405 for his major league career), willing to take a walk, and display an upper-cut swing that gave him some pop, and a low average.  Based just on this season, the Sox have no business playing him against any lefties.

Statistical probability would suggest that the difference in run production between a week of Johnson and Konerko is minimal, but that doesn’t cover the possible situational differences between a Quad-A replacement and Konerko at the height of his powers, nor does it weigh in the intangible presence of the Captain that everyone has brought up in the wake of his injury.

Also, Konerko could always need longer than the seven days allotted, and the difference in performance could become quite significant, and potentially seas0on-altering, since the margin for error in the AL Central race is puny.

But if there’s a positive–an obviously I’m stretching for this one, since the Sox are gonna miss Konerko like Larry Flynt misses having use of his legs–is that it offers a look at Johnson, and insight into whether his monster AAA season is any sign that he could be a useful bench bat come September call-ups.  For Kenny Williams, who is regularly depicted as patrolling the waiver wire like a hawk for more help, that will be useful information, even if the delivery method is objectionable.


*Scrap this all when the Sox inexplicably decided to call up Jared Mitchell or something else similarly wacky.

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