For White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, Chicago's success over the first part of this season and the last is due to a team effort, not just the meat of the lineup. Konerko has joined with teammates Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye to hit 59 home runs and 162 RBIs entering this week's action.
"I don't think it's just the middle," Konerko said. "Last year, we knew we had really good pitching and sometimes, we got caught watching our pitchers work. This year, if you notice with a lot of our games, if we got a couple of early runs, we make a point to add on and do what we should be doing."
Konerko was singled out Monday as the Bank of America Presents the American League Player of the Week. Konerko lit up opposing pitching staffs for the week ending June 18 for a .522 batting average, with one home run, seven RBIs and 17 total bases.
But even when going through an impressive stretch, Konerko continued to deflect credit to other White Sox. Chicago went 6-1 over the last week, and currently owns the second-best record in baseball.
"During the last two nights, our pitchers have been great," said Konerko after a June 13 win over the Rangers. "Out here, it's tough, with hot nights, the balls carry well, and [the Rangers] have a good lineup. There's a lot of hits to be had, and it's tough to hold back people here."
In that game, Konerko dealt the big blow for the White Sox, a three-run home run off Kameron Loe in the fifth inning with the score tied at 1.
"I was just trying to be aggressive," said Konerko about the home run. "He [Loe] has a good sinker and likes to use it, so I didn't want to go up there taking pitches. I caught one that flattened out a little bit."
This marks the second time that Konerko has been recognized, previously winning the award for the week ending Aug. 31, 2003. The first baseman is hitting .317 with 17 home runs and 52 RBIs on the year.
Other players nominated for the award were Texas shortstop Michael Young (.467 average, 8 RBIs), Twins first baseman Justin Morneau (.375, 2 HRs, 9 RBIs), Detroit pitcher Kenny Rogers (2-0, 1.69 ERA) and Oakland pitcher Joe Blanton (2-0, 1.13 ERA).
Michael Walsh is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.