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A.J. Pierzynski the instigator is up to his old tricks against Rays

Updated: July 6, 2012 9:28AM

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A.J. Pierzynski got under the Tampa Bay Rays’ collective skin as only the White Sox catcher can.

He caught a piece of second baseman Ben Zobrist on a slide at second base on Tuesday night attempting to break up a double play.

“I didn’t think there was a play at first base and I was on the very back of the bag and he went out of his way to come take his cleat on my ankle,” Zobrist said. “I just let him know I didn’t think it was necessary.”

On Wednesday, Zobrist watched a pitch from Sox rookie Jose Quintana go behind him, which he viewed as retaliation for Pierzynski behind hit in the back by Alex Cobb.

“A pretty standard 0-0 pitch,” Pierzynski said, cracking wise.

Pierzynski picked the ball up and underhanded it toward the Rays’ dugout on his way to first base. After Sean Rodriguez check-swung a tapper to Jesse Crain for the third out in the seventh inning, Pierzynski flipped Rodriguez’s bat to the on-deck circle.

That’s Pierzynski for you, a catcher Sox fans love to cheer and opposing teams love to boo.

When Zobrist almost got hit, he said he knew what was up.

“I was not expecting it, but I’m guessing it had something to do with A.J. getting hit,’’ Zobrist said. “He seemed to have no clue why that ball was thrown behind me.’’

“Looked like it got away,’’ Pierzynski said. “I set up away and he threw it in.’’

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