George Kontos

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George Kontos
George Kontos on August 19, 2012.jpg
Kontos with the San Francisco Giants in 2012
Free agent
Born: (1985-06-12) June 12, 1985 (age 34)
Lincolnwood, Illinois
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
September 10, 2011, for the New York Yankees
MLB statistics
(through 2018 season)
Win–loss record18–18
Earned run average3.10
Career highlights and awards

George Nicholas Kontos (born June 12, 1985) is an American professional baseball pitcher who is a free agent. He previously played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Cleveland Indians. Prior to playing professionally, he played college baseball at Northwestern University. He bats and throws right-handed.

Amateur 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]

Kontos attended Northwestern University as an economics major, where he played for the Northwestern Wildcats baseball team in the Big Ten Conference.[3] In 2005, he played collegiate summer baseball with the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League.[4] 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.[5] 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[6] and the Trenton Thunder of the Class AA Eastern League in 2008.[7] After starting the 2009 season with Trenton, he was promoted to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees of the Class AAA International League.[8]

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.[9][10] Returning to action in 2010 after a ten-month recovery,[11] Kontos shifted into a relief pitcher.[12] That season, he pitched for Tampa, Trenton, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.[13] 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.[14] After making three appearances for the Padres during spring training in 2011, he was returned to the Yankees prior to the regular season.[15]

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.[16]

New York Yankees (2011)[edit]

Kontos made his major league debut on September 10, 2011 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.[17][18] Appearing in seven games for the Yankees, Kontos pitched to a 3.00 ERA in six innings, while striking out six batters.[19] Kontos was also part of the Yankees postseason roster until the Yankees lost to the Detroit Tigers in the 2011 ALDS.

San Francisco Giants (2012–2017)[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.[20][21] He began the season with the Fresno Grizzlies of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24] 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 in a four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers.

In 2013, Kontos was named to the opening-day 25-man roster.[25] 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. Kontos was suspended three games by the commissioner's office and optioned to Triple-A Fresno on June 12.[26] Kontos was recalled to the majors on June 24.[27] On July 22, Kontos threw a career-high 63 pitches in an 11–0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds that helped save the Giants' bullpen before a doubleheader the following day.[28] Kontos was optioned back to Triple-A on July 23 and wasn't recalled until rosters expanded in September. 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, pitching ​55 13 innings with a 2–2 record and 4.39 ERA.

In 2014, Kontos started the season in Triple-A Fresno.[29] During the season, he was called up to the Majors and sent back to Fresno four times.[30] In 24 games with the Giants, he pitched ​32 13 innings with 27 strikeouts, a 4–0 record, and 2.88 ERA. He was left off the postseason roster.

Kontos was named to the Giants' opening-day roster for 2015.[31] Through July 11, Kontos stranded all 25 base runners he inherited on the season.[32] Kontos appeared in a career-high 73 games, recording a career-best 0.941 WHIP and holding opponents to a .159 average with runners in scoring position, third-best in the Majors.[33] In 2015, Kontos pitched ​73 13 innings, with 44 strikeouts, a 4–4 record, and 2.33 ERA.[33]

On February 1, 2016, Kontos agreed to a one-year, $1.15 million contract with the San Francisco Giants, avoiding arbitration.[34] After appearing in eight of the Giants' first 13 games of the 2016 season, Kontos went on the disabled list with a strained flexor.[35] In 57 games, Kontos pitched ​53 13 innings with 35 strikeouts and a 2.53 ERA.

In 2017, Kontos and the Giants agreed to a one-year, $1.75 million contract, avoiding arbitration.[36]

Pittsburgh Pirates (2017–2018)[edit]

Kontos was claimed on waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 5, 2017.[37] For the last month of the season, he posted a 1.84 ERA in 15 games. He was designated for assignment on May 25, 2018, and later released from the organization on May 28.[38]

Cleveland Indians[edit]

On June 2, 2018, Kontos signed a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians.[39] The Indians purchased Kontos' contract on June 19, 2018.[40] Kontos was designated for assignment on July 6, 2018.

Second Stint with the New York Yankees[edit]

On August 4, 2018, Kontos was traded to the New York Yankees for cash considerations. The Yankees assigned Kontos to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.[41] He was promoted to the major leagues on August 13, 2018.[42].The Yankees designated Kontos for assignment on August 15, 2018. He declared free agency on October 5, 2018.

Chicago Cubs[edit]

On January 25, 2019, Kontos signed a minor league contract with the Chicago Cubs.[43] He was released on April 14, 2019.

Long Island Ducks[edit]

On May 10, 2019, Kontos signed with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

Washington Nationals[edit]

On May 25, 2019, Kontos had his contract purchased by the Washington Nationals and was assigned to the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies. He was released on August 28, 2019.

Personal life[edit]

Kontos' younger brother, Chris, played on a travelling baseball team, known as the Renegades, that was coached by Steve Bartman and his second cousin Tony.[44]


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  2. ^ a b George Kontos (June 12, 1985). "George Kontos Profile – Northwestern University Official Athletic Site". Archived from the original on April 13, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d "Prospect Q&A – George Kontos, Yankees". Washington Times. September 1, 2008. Archived from the original on April 13, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  4. ^ "Major League Baseball Players From the Cape Cod League" (PDF). Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  5. ^ Cohen, Micah (September 16, 2006). "Back-to-Back Titles for Class A Yankees". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Chad Jennings (Staff Writer) (May 21, 2009). "Yankees look to get back to winning ways – Yankees". The Times-Tribune. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Shalin, Dan (July 7, 2009). "Kontos upbeat despite arm surgery". Skokie Review. Retrieved August 17, 2012. (subscription required)
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  12. ^ "Yankees get Kontos back from San Diego | River Avenue Blues". Retrieved August 18, 2012.
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  14. ^ Hoch, Bryan (December 9, 2010). "Yankees make two picks in Rule 5 Draft | News". Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  15. ^ "Peavy still enjoys time with former Padres teammates". March 14, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  16. ^ Malench, Karyn (September 8, 2011). "Niles West Alum Reaches the Majors – Skokie news, photos and events –". Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  17. ^ Collins, Donnie (September 6, 2011). "Mitchell brilliant as Yankees down Buffalo in 2011 finale – Sports". The Citizens' Voice. Retrieved September 7, 2011.
  18. ^ Brilowski, Nick. "Northwestern Wildcats – Northwestern University Official Athletic Site – Blog". Retrieved September 7, 2011.
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  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ "Kontos traded, Cervelli optioned | The Lohud Yankees Blog". April 4, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  22. ^ "Linden's Return Sparks Historic Start For Grizzlies". April 15, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2012.[permanent dead link]
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  25. ^ Kawahara, Matt (March 30, 2013). "Giants announce opening day roster". Sacramento Bee.
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  27. ^ Schulman, Henry (June 24, 2013). "Giants' Mike Kickham set for 2nd start". San Francisco Chronicle.
  28. ^ Kawahara, Matt (July 23, 2013). "Giants bring up Petit, option Kontos, plus lineups for Game 1". Sacramento Bee.
  29. ^ Schulman, Henry (March 23, 2014). "SF Giants demote Kontos, Runzler; plus 25-man speculation". San Francisco Chronicle.
  30. ^ "George Kontos". Rotoworld.
  31. ^ Baggarly, Andrew (April 5, 2015). "Giants set opening day roster, plan to push back Jake Peavy". San Jose Mercury News.
  32. ^ Kroner, Steve (July 11, 2015). "Giants pound out 15 hits, beat Phils again".
  33. ^ a b Pavlovic, Alex (October 28, 2015). "Giants reliever Kontos qualifies for 'Super Two' status". CSN Bay Area.
  34. ^ Haft, Chris. "Kontos, Giants reach agreement on deal". Retrieved February 3, 2016.
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Nunez, Kontos, Smith agree to 1-year deals with Giants". Associated Press. January 13, 2017.
  37. ^ Brisbee, Grant (August 5, 2017). "George Kontos claimed by Pirates on waivers". SB Narion. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  38. ^ Todd, Jeff (May 28, 2018). "Pirates Place George Kontos on Release Waivers". Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  39. ^ Byrne, Connor (June 3, 2018). "Indians Sign George Kontos". Retrieved June 3, 2018.
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  41. ^
  42. ^ Adams, Steve (August 13, 2018). "Yankees Select Contract of George Kontos, Place CC Sabathia on DL". Retrieved August 13, 2018.
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