CLEVELAND -- Paul Konerko was not surprised by the actions of Carlos Quentin on Thursday night, when the Padres outfielder charged the mound after Dodgers starter Zack Greinke hit him with a 3-2 pitch in the left arm, resulting in an on-field scrum and a broken left collarbone for the pitcher.
As a Quentin teammate from 2008-11, Konerko knows the back story involving these two individuals and understands Quentin's actions.
"I think like [Quentin] said, if you know the history and you know the pieces of the puzzle, it kind of all makes sense," said Konerko, speaking before the White Sox series opener in Cleveland. "So, you know, hopefully the people out there don't look at it as an isolated event like it was something that just happened last night.
"When you put all the pieces together, I think you find yourself being on Carlos' side a little bit more when you start seeing, and it's not just … . I think it was three hit by pitches, but if you watch the games I've watched, [Greinke] probably had more than five pitches that have gone over [Quentin's] head. So at some point, it's going to be the last straw, and that's what happened.
Greinke hitting Quentin Thursday night represented the third time that has happened in their individual battles. Greinke also has hit nine White Sox hitters in 635 plate appearances, representing his highest total for any one team.
As Konerko pointed out, Greinke is known for his control, so the first baseman believes when a talented hurler with such pinpoint accuracy has that many pitches get away, a hitter starts to take notice -- and so should others. It was also pointed out to the White Sox captain that Quentin has been hit 116 times in his career, but Thursday represented the first time he has charged the mound.
"So what does that tell you?" Konerko said. "It tells you [Quentin] knows the game and he knows he's on top of the plate. He knows he doesn't move a lot. So if I heard that, it would be just more evidence of this is something more than just getting hit on a 3-2 pitch that got away. Greinke has well above average control. Some would say maybe the best control in the game.
"Again, with the games I've saw, last night, which incidentally last night's might have gotten away from him a little bit. I don't know if he meant to do that or not. But take into account all the other ones, and again when you are talking about someone who has the best control in the game, and just got [$147] million bucks, and a lot of that is because of his control. There's got to be more there when balls are getting away that much.
"If he lets one go up in there and it breaks Carlos' hand, they would just say, 'Hey, that got away from him,'" Konerko said. "That's part of the game. Throwing up in there time and time again and having somebody run out there and break your collarbone, that's part of the game as well, because, again, hitters get hit up in there a lot and that's just coined as part of the game."
Konerko depicted Quentin as a tough player who comes ready to play and played through injuries during his time with the White Sox. Konerko already held Quentin in high esteem, regardless of his Thursday response to Greinke.
"It comes to you get pushed and pushed and you get hit  times in your career, and you've never charged?" Konerko said. "To me, that speaks more volumes than anything. Why do you charge on just one? Do your homework and figure it out.
"I'm definitely sticking up for Carlos, flat-out, because, again, it takes one fastball up in there to break a bone and give you a concussion, whatever. Your season is over. It just gets chalked up as it got away.
"How many times can you let a ball get away from somebody before you go do something? I guess that many. There it is. At some point, you have to put your foot down, and that's what you saw happen there."