Kontos Recalls Near Trade

George Kontos will never forget the wildest two days of his career.

It was about a week before the trade deadline in 2008, and the righty starter was scheduled to pitch the next day against the Portland Sea Dogs.  Thing is, reports were circulating around the ballpark that he’d just been included in a deal that would send him to the Pittsburgh Pirates.  But nobody bothered to tell Kontos.

“That was pretty crazy, that was probably one of the more flustered moments I’ve had in my professional baseball career.” he said.

Instead, he was sitting in the stands charting pitches for Phil Coke’s start.  Coke got pulled after one inning, and everyone suspected something was up with him, but Kontos had no idea he was included in any sort of deal as well.  According to Kontos, having to start the next day was the hardest part.

“That was tough,” he said.

“I remember coming into (Tony Franklin’s) office, and him and Scott Aldred were in there just saying goodbye to Phil and I.  They were saying if we ever needed anything, to give them a call.  The next morning, I wake up and I have a voicemail from Tony, and he’s like, ‘Hey, you’re still a Yankee and you’re pitching tonight.’  And I was like, ‘Oh, all right.’  It was a little bit mentally draining.  I didn’t pitch very well that next outing, I think I gave up like six runs or something like that.  But I was pretty flustered after all that, not knowing why it didn’t go through or what happened.” 

Kontos, back with the Thunder in a relief role after returning from Tommy John surgery, has put the events of two seasons ago behind him, and is focused on his future in pinstripes.

“At this point, I’m not really even thinking about that.  Right now, I’m just trying to go out and have quality outings,” he said.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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