CHICAGO – That old line-drive swing has returned for Paul Konerko, with only his power stroke still in hiding.
After an extremely slow start, Konerko is finally producing with better bat speed and an overall more refined approach at the plate.
Konerko’s current hot stretch has him batting .438 (7-for-16) over his last four games. It might not be a large sample size, but considering he was hitting .189 (17-for-90) over his previous 23 games, things are moving in the right direction.
Overall, Konerko is batting .238 with a .357 slugging percentage. Comparing that slugging percentage to the rest of the regulars, Alex Rios (.527), Dayan Viciedo (.461), Conor Gillaspie (.433), Alejandro De Aza (.420), Adam Dunn (.402), and all are better than Konerko, who is 43rd on the all-time home run list with 427.
Without saying Konerko’s bat speed is back to where it once was, manager Robin Ventura did say “it’s different,” which was another way of saying it’s well on its way to being what it once was.
“I think he's a little quicker now than he was early for one reason or another,” Ventura said. “It could be mechanical, it could be pitch selection, the way he's thinking when he goes in there. He looks good at the plate right now.”
As for those home runs, Konerko has five on the season but just one this month. That long ball came late in Thursday’s game against the Boston Red Sox, which was the White Sox’s only defeat in six games so far on the homestand.
“Even though you lose that game, he hits a homer and it's still a good thing to see that he's coming out of it,” Ventura said. “He's getting the tough at-bat, the base hit at the end of grinding out an at-bat. It was good to see.”
Konerko does enough breaking down his swing before, after and during games that he has been reluctant to discuss things publicly but did say during the Red Sox series that he was as good as he has been in a while.
“Hopefully we’ll build off that,” Konerko said.