George Kontos

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George Kontos
George Kontos on August 19, 2012.jpg
Kontos with the San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Giants – No. 70
Born: (1985-06-12) June 12, 1985 (age 29)
Lincolnwood, Illinois
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
September 10, 2011 for the New York Yankees
Career statistics
(through 2014 season)
Win–loss record 8–3
Earned run average 3.34
Strikeouts 124
WHIP 1.21
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.

Early career[edit]

Kontos attended Niles West High School in Skokie, Illinois,[1] where he was named the high school baseball player of the year in Illinois in 2003.[2][3] He also lettered in golf and basketball.[2]

College career[edit]

Kontos attended Northwestern University as an economics major, where he played for the Northwestern Wildcats baseball team in the Big Ten Conference.[3] 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.[3]

Professional career[edit]

Minor Leagues[edit]

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.[4] 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.[3] He pitched for the Tampa Yankees of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League in 2007[5] and the Trenton Thunder of the Class AA Eastern League in 2008.[6] After starting the 2009 season with Trenton, he was promoted to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees of the Class AAA International League.[7]

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.[8][9] Returning to action in 2010 after a ten-month recovery,[10] Kontos shifted into a relief pitcher.[11] That season, he pitched for Tampa, Trenton, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.[12] 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.[13] After making three appearances for the Padres during spring training in 2011, he was returned to the Yankees prior to the regular season.[14]

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.[15]

New York Yankees (2011)[edit]

Kontos made his major league debut on September 10, 2011 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.[16][17] Appearing in seven games for the Yankees, Kontos pitched to a 3.00 ERA in six innings, while striking out six batters.[18] 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)[edit]

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.[19][20] He began the season with the Fresno Grizzlies of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League.[21] 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.[22] 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.[23] 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 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.


Kontos' younger brother, Chris, played on a traveling baseball team, known as the Renegades, that was coached by Steve Bartman and his second cousin Tony .[24]


  1. ^ Goddard, Joe (May 23, 2003). "Kontos desirable to NU, pro scouts". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 152. Retrieved August 18, 2012.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b George Kontos (June 12, 1985). "George Kontos Profile – Northwestern University Official Athletic Site". Retrieved August 18, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Prospect Q&A — George Kontos, Yankees". Washington Times. September 1, 2008. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  4. ^ Cohen, Micah (September 16, 2006). "Back-to-Back Titles for Class A Yankees". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2012. 
  5. ^ McConnell, Ryan (August 15, 2007). "Lis, Miracle top Yankees for 10th straight win: League's Player of the Week has six homers, 17 RBIs since start of streak". Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  6. ^ Storm, Stephanie (September 13, 2008). "'Superman' stars in Thunder's victory: Jackson hits one homer, robs Aeros of two more in 4–1 win". Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  7. ^ Chad Jennings (Staff Writer) (May 21, 2009). "Yankees look to get back to winning ways — Yankees". The Times-Tribune. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  8. ^ Chad Jennings (Staff Writer) (June 30, 2009). "SWB Yankees pitcher George Kontos to undergo Tommy John surgery – Sports". The Times-Tribune. Retrieved August 18, 2012. 
  9. ^ Shalin, Dan (July 7, 2009). "Kontos upbeat despite arm surgery". Skokie Review. Retrieved August 17, 2012.  (subscription required)
  10. ^ "Kontos' confidence stems from stint with Yanks | News". Retrieved August 18, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Yankees get Kontos back from San Diego | River Avenue Blues". Retrieved August 18, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Rule 5 Draft Selection George Kontos Returned to Yankees | Official Info". Retrieved August 18, 2012. 
  13. ^ Hoch, Bryan (December 9, 2010). "Yankees make two picks in Rule 5 Draft | News". Retrieved August 19, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Peavy still enjoys time with former Padres teammates". March 14, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2011. 
  15. ^ Malench, Karyn (September 8, 2011). "Niles West Alum Reaches the Majors — Skokie news, photos and events —". Retrieved August 18, 2012. 
  16. ^ Collins, Donnie (September 6, 2011). "Mitchell brilliant as Yankees down Buffalo in 2011 finale — Sports". The Citizens' Voice. Retrieved September 7, 2011. 
  17. ^ Brilowski, Nick. "Northwestern Wildcats — Northwestern University Official Athletic Site — Blog". Retrieved September 7, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Yanks add catcher Stewart, option Cervelli | News". Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ "Kontos traded, Cervelli optioned | The Lohud Yankees Blog". April 4, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Linden's Return Sparks Historic Start For Grizzlies". April 15, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Giants add Kontos to bullpen, drop Edlefsen | News". Retrieved August 18, 2012. 
  23. ^ Ehalt, Matt. "The Cash Register (Aug. 14) – Yankees Blog – ESPN New York". Retrieved August 18, 2012. 
  24. ^ Henry Schulman (August 4, 2012). "Giants' Kontos has Bartman connection". SFGate. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 

External links[edit]