All-business Pierzynski’s reunion with White Sox is pretty subdued
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org February 26, 2013 10:22PM
Sun-Times sportswriter Daryl Van Schouwen. January 27, 2012 | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times
SURPRISE, Ariz. — A.J. Pierzynski took another step in cutting ties with the White Sox on Tuesday, catching four dragged-out, walk-filled Cactus League innings against his former team and batting twice from the cleanup position.
All in all, emotions were low-key. Sox players were more ho-hum than anything talking to media about the reunion, and banter between Pierzynski and his former teammates who made the trip to the Rangers’ home field was limited.
“He was all business today,’’ Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
Pierzynski briefly chatted with Dewayne Wise, Gordon Beckham and Alex Rios when they came up to bat and said he enjoyed seeing Brian Omogrosso, whom he caught during Omogrosso’s rookie year and Pierzynski’s last after eight seasons with the Sox.
Between the lines, Pierzynski singled to left field against Omogrosso, a liner that Wise trapped on a diving attempt. Against Sox prospect Nestor Molina in the first, Pierzynski swung hard twice, fouling off the first pitch and lining fairly deep to Rios in right on the second.
“Another game, another game,’’ Pierzynski the downplayer said after his workday was done. “I’ve said all I need to say about the White Sox. I’ve talked to the people I needed to talk to over there. I’m happy that it’s over, and you guys can quit asking me about it. Other than that, it’s done. There’s not very much to say about it. It was a great run we had, but it’s over and done. Everyone knows how I feel about the people there and the fans, but it’s over.’’
After catching two perfect innings from Yu Darvish, Pierzynski was on the receiving end of a nightmarish outing by prospect Cody Buckel, who walked five of the first seven batters he faced. Pierzynski had a passed ball that allowed a run, and in the fourth inning, he couldn’t make a clean transfer to make a throw on Trayce Thompson’s steal of second base.
Questions after the game were more about what it was like playing against his old team than the game itself, it being Feb. 26 and all.
“Of course, I still have friends over there,’’ Pierzynski said. “People that will be lifelong friends who I played with. Gordon Beckham, Dewayne Wise, all the guys in the lineup I knew. Facing Omogrosso, a guy I caught, said hello to him. There are other things besides baseball. I wish them nothing but the best. I have no hard feelings, and what happened happened.’’
Told that Beckham said he looked good in blue, Pierzynski briefly had that look in his eye tipping off a wisecrack, but he retreated into serious mode.
“Beckham is a friend of mine, and hopefully he has a better year because I know what he expects of himself and the talent he has,’’ Pierzynski said. “I wish them nothing but the best, and there’s not a person there I have hard feelings toward.’’
A fan favorite who played on the 2005 World Series champions, Pierzynski might have cut ties, but Twitter reactions to his picture in a Rangers blue uniform indicate that many fans haven’t yet.
“It still doesn’t make sense,” “a moment of silence,” “bummed,” “crying,” “stinks,” “vomit” and “should have paid him” is a sampling of Sox fans’ reactions.
“You see a guy in a different uniform, but I’m sure it was strange for him, too,’’ Ventura said.
“Different colors, it is strange.’’
The Sox play the Rangers in Glendale on Wednesday, but Pierzynski will not make the trip. The teams play again March 26, and play for keeps April 30-May 2. The Rangers play at U.S. Cellular Field Aug. 23-25. So there’s time for banter or bench-jockeying.
“I’m sure there will be at some point,’’ Ventura said.