Texas glad to have former Chicago catchers

May, 6, 2013
5/06/13
8:23
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux has been thrilled with his tandem of former Chicago catchers. Veterans A.J. Pierzynski and Geovany Soto have worked hand in hand with Maddux on the daily preparation of his pitching staff.

“The success so far of our pitching staff has a lot to do with A.J. and Soto,” Maddux said. “Those guys are great quarterbacks behind the dish.”

[+] EnlargeGeovany Soto
David Banks/Getty ImagesFormer Cub catcher Geovany Soto returned with the Rangers on Monday night.
The Rangers lead the American League in wins and ERA. Both Pierzynski, a former White Sox, and Soto, a former Cub, signed with Texas in the offseason as free agents . Pierzynski’s one-year deal is worth $7.5 million and Soto is under contract for one year at $3 million.

“A.J. brings years of experience back there and has great vision behind the plate,” Maddux said. “He sees the whole field and sees the batter. He and Geo read hitters very well and I think our young pitchers have been helped by A.J.’s experience.”

The edgy Pierzynski has been a big hit with his Texas teammates and coaching staff alike.

“AJ is probably the most popular unpopular guy around,” Maddux said. “We joke about it all of the time. He is a true gamer and a true professional. A.J. plays to win every game. He never takes a pitch off and never takes an at-bat off. He is a consummate pro. I get a kick out of him. I love him to death and he has helped make our team very, very competitive. He has really pulled some of these young guys through some big moments.”

Pierzynski is hitting .263 with four home runs and 11 RBIs. Soto has not played that much, and is hitting .182 with no homers or RBIs.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Starlin Castro
BA HR RBI R
.292 14 65 58
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 32
RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
WJ. Arrieta 10
ERAT. Wood 5.03
SOJ. Arrieta 167