|San Francisco Giants – No. 70|
June 12, 1985 |
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|September 10, 2011 for the New York Yankees|
(through May 28, 2014)
|Earned run average||3.32|
|Career highlights and awards|
George Nicholas Kontos (born June 12, 1985) is an American professional baseball player. A relief pitcher, he plays for the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball (MLB). Kontos made his MLB debut for the New York Yankees in 2011 before he was traded to the Giants before the 2012 season. Prior to playing professionally, he played college baseball at Northwestern University. He bats and throws right-handed.
Kontos attended Northwestern University as an economics major, where he played for the Northwestern Wildcats baseball team in the Big Ten Conference. Despite never winning five games in a season, or finishing a season with an earned run average (ERA) below 5.00, the New York Yankees selected Kontos in the fifth round of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft after his junior year.
Kontos signed with the Yankees after his college career and played for the Staten Island Yankees of the Class A-Short Season New York-Penn League in 2006, winning the league championship. With a 7–3 win-loss record, 2.64 ERA, and 82 strikeouts in 78 innings pitched, Baseball America named Kontos a Short-Season All-Star. He pitched for the Tampa Yankees of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League in 2007 and the Trenton Thunder of the Class AA Eastern League in 2008. After starting the 2009 season with Trenton, he was promoted to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees of the Class AAA International League.
After experiencing tightness in his pitching arm in June 2009, Kontos went on the disabled list in what he thought was a precautionary measure. Magnetic resonance imaging diagnosed a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, which required Tommy John surgery, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. Returning to action in 2010 after a ten-month recovery, Kontos shifted into a relief pitcher. That season, he pitched for Tampa, Trenton, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. After the 2010 season, the Yankees opted not to protect Kontos on their 40 man roster. Consequently, he was selected by the San Diego Padres from the Yankees in the Rule 5 draft that offseason. After making three appearances for the Padres during spring training in 2011, he was returned to the Yankees prior to the regular season.
Kontos began his 2011 minor league season with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he pitched to a 4–4 win–loss record and a 2.64 ERA in 40 appearances.
New York Yankees (2011)
Kontos made his major league debut on September 10, 2011 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Appearing in seven games for the Yankees, Kontos pitched to a 3.00 ERA in six innings, while striking out six batters. Kontos was also part of the Yankees postseason roster until the Yankees lost to the Detroit Tigers in the 2011 ALDS.
San Francisco Giants (2012–present)
Due in part to a back injury suffered by Yankees catcher Austin Romine, the Yankees traded Kontos to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for catcher Chris Stewart before the start of the 2012 season. He began the season with the Fresno Grizzlies of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League. After starting the season with a 2–0 win-loss record and a 1.71 ERA in 23 appearances, the Giants promoted him to the major leagues on June 10. Through August 14, he pitched to a 2.33 ERA and a 1.15 walks plus hits per innings pitched (WHIP) ratio in 26 games, becoming a reliable member of the Giants bullpen. Kontos got his first major league win in relief of Barry Zito, successfully recording 7 outs without allowing a baserunner. The Giants went on to win the game 6-4 against the Astros. Kontos entered the postseason for a second straight season and eventually won the 2012 World Series with the Giants by performing a 4-game sweep over the Tigers.
On June 11, 2013, Kontos was ejected for the first time in his Major League career after hitting Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen with a pitch. On September 20, 2013, Kontos achieved notoriety as he surrendered Alex Rodriguez’s 24th career grand slam that eventually broke the record formerly held by Lou Gehrig. For the 2013 season, Kontos made 52 relief appearances going 2–2 with a 4.39 ERA.
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- Brilowski, Nick. "Northwestern Wildcats — Northwestern University Official Athletic Site — Blog". Nusports.cstv.com. Retrieved September 7, 2011.
- "Yanks add catcher Stewart, option Cervelli | yankees.com: News". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
- Waldstein, David (April 4, 2012). "Yankees Unexpectedly Trade for a Catcher and Send Cervelli to the Minors". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
- "Kontos traded, Cervelli optioned | The Lohud Yankees Blog". Yankees.lhblogs.com. April 4, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
- "Linden's Return Sparks Historic Start For Grizzlies". Kmjnow.com. April 15, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
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- Ehalt, Matt. "The Cash Register (Aug. 14) – Yankees Blog – ESPN New York". Espn.go.com. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
- Henry Schulman (August 4, 2012). "Giants' Kontos has Bartman connection". SFGate. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- George Kontos on Twitter