Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

Konerko still fearing Twins ... Ozzie? Not so much

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Konerko.jpgSCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - The idea of facing Jon Rauch in the ninth inning and the game on the line, rather than the brick wall that had been Twins closer Joe Nathan, well, put it this way, Ozzie Guillen wasn't exactly shedding tears for Minnesota.
"If Rauch is the closer I will take my chance,'' Guillen insisted before the Cactus League game against the Giants. "I was talking to [bench coach] Joey [Cora] on the way here and said, 'I will take that chance.' It's nothing against Rauch, but Nathan is so good against us ... I don't remember in the six or seven years with this ballclub that we had a good day against him except once, that's it.''
With the news out of Florida on Tuesday morning that Nathan has a tear of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament and is likely headed for Tommy John Surgery, the balance of power in the Central Division instantly switched.
That doesn't mean the Sox were scurrying to start printing up the playoff tickets, but there was no denying that without the Twins having the best closer in all of baseball the last five years at their disposal an organization has been weakened.
If only Paul Konerko was buying it.
The Sox team captain would like to think that the Sox now have a clearer path to the postseason, but he sounded more like a guy that had seen his share of ghosts wearing the Twins uniform. Minnesota was supposed to be weakened when they lost A.J. Pierzynski. It didn't happen. Then when they lost Torii Hunter. Didn't happen. Then Johan Santana. Didn't happen.
"My feeling on this is it's something about the Twins and the way I feel about the Twins, it always seems like when someone goes down or leaves - and this might be a little different wrinkle for them because I don't think they have had somebody like this go down - but when you look at a [Joe] Mauer or [Justin] Morneau or a starting pitcher that's gone down, it always seems like they've had someone waiting there that you've never heard of that comes in and has a career year,'' Konerko said. "It always seems like they have an ace up their sleeves.
"For us looking at it, you just have to assume that someone will step up. We have to just go about our business and feel like when we play the Twins it's going to be as tough as it always is. If it isn't then hopefully that will be good for us. But they have so much character on that team, I don't see them falling to pieces because they lost a guy - he maybe the guy - but they didn't fall apart when they lost Morneau late last year. In fact, they got better. I respect the Twins more than any other team in the big leagues.''

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on March 9, 2010 4:07 PM.

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