CHICAGO - Paul Konerko exited Sunday's 12-6 victory over the Indians with a robust .399 average, which is tops in the Majors. Even with the 36-year-old getting better with age, Konerko has never hit higher than .313 in a single season, so this flirtation with .400 doesn't figure to last.
"I've got 13 years in the big leagues that says I'm probably not going to hit .400," said Konerko after his 2-for-4 showing in the team's fifth straight win.
Konerko actually doesn't believe anyone in baseball can reach that elusive .400 plateau in the current climate.
"Probably not. No way," Konerko said. "The only way I could see it happening is if a guy has one of those years where he was hurt the whole year but just qualified.
"There's too much good pitching. Too many factors involved that would be working against you. If Ichiro hasn't done it during his career, and he probably had the best shot, because he could run and is left-handed, just an unbelievable hitter and could hit everything. If he hasn't done it, I'm saying it won't be done. When he was right in the middle there [of his career], it was like if he couldn't do it, then nobody could."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura agreed with Konerko's Ichiro theory when asked about hitting .400 pregame on Sunday. Ventura added that Konerko's numbers are that much more amazing because he doesn't have close to the speed possessed by a player like Ichiro. In fact, Konerko has very little speed at all.
"He's not getting those ones where he tops them in the infield and gets a hit out of it," said Ventura of Konerko. "Everything he gets is reaching the outfield. Whatever he hits is what he's hitting. He's not getting any gifts."
"I think just maybe worry about yourself," said Konerko, explaining his preparatory philosophy and stressing again the need to put in his daily work and stick to a plan. "Get your body into a good position to hit. If it looks good to hit, let it fly and trust your work will hold up. That's it."