Chicago White Sox: A.J. Pierzynski

Melk Man helps pour out better lineup

December, 14, 2014
Dec 14
9:20
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- With a source confirming the Chicago White Sox's addition of Melky Cabrera to play left field and bat second, an impressive lineup has emerged with spring training just more than two months away.

A team that had Conor Gillaspie bating third on Opening Day in 2014 has its pieces in better alignment now, especially up top, where the first five hitters weren't even in the organization at the All-Star break in 2013.

How the 2015 Opening Day lineup now looks:

Adam Eaton, center field
Melky Cabrera, left field
Jose Abreu, first base
Adam LaRoche, designated hitter
Avisail Garcia, right field
Alexei Ramirez, shortstop
Conor Gillaspie, third base
Tyler Flowers, catcher
Micah Johnson/Carlos Sanchez, second base

Suddenly, manager Robin Ventura's refusal to ponder a potential lineup while being interviewed at the winter meetings earlier this week makes much more sense.

Of the 1,211 games Cabrera has played in his career, the biggest number has come in the No. 2 spot. He is batting .292 there with a .341 on-base percentage, and represents a much better fit in the second spot instead of Ramirez, who had his issues with situational hitting behind Eaton last season.

With Eaton and Cabrera in the first two spots, it also would give more RBI opportunities to rookie of the year Abreu, who still managed to drive in 107 runs in 2014.

White Sox No. 2 hitters had a combined .237 batting average last season, 26th in baseball, and a .279 on-base percentage, 29th in baseball. Cabrera had a .351 OBP last season with the Toronto Blue Jays in 139 games. He also has a career .339 on-base percentage over 10 major league seasons.

The Cabrera addition also provides better lineup balance with the left-handed hitting Eaton up top, followed by the switch-hitting Cabrera, the right-handed hitting Abreu and the left-handed hitting LaRoche and the right-handed hitting Garcia

Gillaspie and Ramirez are presumably interchangeable in the sixth and seventh spots, depending on the pitcher. Gillaspie's presence as a No. 7 hitter gives the lineup a left-handed line-drive hitter toward the bottom of the order for the first time since A.J. Pierzynski departed as a free agent following the 2012 season.

Gillaspie was batting .321 as late as July 31 and was among the league leaders in hitting most of the season. He faded late, though, batting .222 in August and just .208 over the final two months to finish with a .282 batting average and a .336 OBP to go along with a .416 slugging percentage.

The second base job is the only real spring training battle remaining among position players. Sanchez has a slight edge based on his 28 games of experience there in 2014, but Johnson has more upside, and his speed in the No. 9 spot, leading to Eaton in the leadoff spot, provides intrigue.

White Sox add another catcher, claim Brantly

December, 8, 2014
Dec 8
2:31
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
SAN DIEGO – The Chicago White Sox are creating a logjam at the catching position, adding a fifth to their 40-man roster Monday when they claimed Rob Brantly off waivers from the Miami Marlins.

Tyler Flowers, Adrian Nieto, Josh Phegley and Kevan Smith are also on the 40-man roster. While Flowers has started the most games over the past two seasons, the position isn’t as solidified as when A.J. Pierzynski was the club’s catcher for eight seasons, a run that ended after the 2012 season.

Despite what is perceived as lackluster play behind the plate, the White Sox did have the fourth best slugging percentage from their catchers in the American League this past season with a .395 mark. Their OPS was sixth at .688.

Brantly, 25, batted .255 with four home runs and 37 RBIs in 101 games with Triple-A New Orleans in 2014. The left-handed hitter has 98 games of experience at the major league level with the Marlins from 2012-13, batting a combined .235 with four home runs and 26 RBIs. He was the Marlins’ Opening Day catcher in 2013.

He is a former third-round draft pick by the Detroit Tigers in 2010 out of UC Riverside.

Order restored: Sale is an All-Star

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
5:45
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Justice was finally served Thursday when Chris Sale was named to the American League All-Star team, thus avoiding one of the biggest snubs in the All-Star Game’s history.

Of course, it took some stuffing of online ballot boxes to make it happen, but as a wire-to-wire winner of the Final Vote, Sale can now boast about his third consecutive trip to baseball’s midsummer showcase event.

[+] EnlargeChris Sale
Mitchell Layton/Getty ImagesChris Sale is an All-Star once again -- and deservedly so. It just took a little longer this time.
Can you imagine the uproar if a player with an 8-1 record and a 2.08 ERA over 14 starts and 95 innings was not deemed worthy to suit up with the game’s best? It was already bad enough that Sale had to be subject to the Final Vote process, but it was ultimately the best scenario to give the White Sox three All-Stars from a team that opened play Thursday four games under .500 at 44-48.

Rookie Jose Abreu was a no-brainer, but the addition of Alexei Ramirez to the team via the players’ vote seemed to scramble things a bit.

Instead of putting Sale on the All-Star team immediately, MLB seemed to be of the mind that if the White Sox were going to have three All-Stars, then the public would have to make that decision.

And did anybody doubt that Sale would be the victor?

If there is one thing the White Sox’s marketing staff knows how to do it is to rally the fan base for an online vote. And while White Sox fans often get knocked for not filling up their ballpark on the South Side, there clearly is a passionate following.

Sale becomes the fourth White Sox player to win the Final Vote after Scott Podsednik (2005), A.J. Pierzynski (2006) and Paul Konerko (2011). And the fact that oft-derided Pierzynski could win a popularity contest shows the value of a determined marketing staff.

Before the voting got underway, Sale was asked if the Pierzynski result in particular was a good sign for his own chances.

“What's that supposed to mean?” Sale said with a chuckle. “Yeah, I'd say we got the right guys behind the scenes doing the work. But I think we're just going to have a good time with this and see how it plays out, and hopefully we'll pull it through.”

(Read full post)

A.J. plays numbers game with 'Hawk'

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
6:49
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO – A.J. Pierzynski is now two years removed from his Chicago White Sox days, but the ties remain strong.

Asked Tuesday how he decided on wearing No. 40 this season, his first with the Boston Red Sox, his response was pure Pierzynski.

[+] EnlargeA. J. Pierzynski
Leon Halip/Getty ImagesA. J. Pierzynski's No. 12 was taken, so he took inspiration from friend and White Sox broadcaster Ken Harrelson.
“What happened was when I came over to the Red Sox, they asked me what jersey number I wanted,” Pierzynski said before the game against the White Sox. “Obviously I was 12 for a long time and I couldn’t have 12 because [Mike] Napoli had 12. If he wouldn’t have [re-signed], I would have taken that. But I was kind of half-joking with [Paul] Konerko, [White Sox director of media relations Bob] Beghtol and a couple of other guys over here, they were like, ‘You can do what your dad did and be his number.’”

Pierzynski’s “dad” in this case would be White Sox broadcaster Ken “Hawk” Harrelson. The men are not related, of course, but they have longtime ties, and Harrelson has made no secret of his affinity for the way Pierzynski plays.

“I thought, ‘You know that’s not a bad idea,’” Pierzynski said. “So I text Hawk and asked him what number he was and he said 40. So I just went with it.”

Of course Pierzynski won’t be wearing No. 40 on Tuesday night. All players will wear No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day.

With his former No. 12 on his back, Pierzynski played with the White Sox for eight seasons and is well-versed in the organization, but he clearly doesn’t recognize what he sees now. For one, his former team has been an offensive machine in the early going of 2014. For another, the Sox are circling the bases with ease and doing it without much input from Konerko, who is a part-time player in his farewell season.

“It’s strange for me to see Paul not play every day,” Pierzynski said. “That’s the Paul I know and the Paul I played with and that’s the Paul I think most people remember, but to look up and not see him in the lineup, look at the lineup today and no Konerko, it’s still odd to me. You look it up and he has like eight at-bats for the whole season. To see that is just weird for me.”

Pierzynski said Konerko kept him in the loop when the White Sox captain was making his decision whether to return for one more year or retire.

“I told him absolutely he should come back,” Pierzynski said. “He deserves to come back, not only for himself but to enjoy one year. If they aren’t going to give him the opportunity to play, then heck, he can enjoy it a little bit more. It’s a lot more relaxing if he knows he’s not playing every day.

“He doesn’t have to worry about how to get a hit off of guys. He can enjoy the atmosphere. I know he’s a good pinch hitter. He’s always had success in that role. I’m sure they are using him effectively. I know Paul wanted to go out on his terms and, after this year, he’ll be able to do that.”

Never one to just let a compliment stand, Pierzynski is impressed with the White Sox's turnaround but cautioned those who think it’s just going to be this way all season.

“Guys last year weren’t going to have as bad of the year that they did,” Pierzynski said. “Alexei Ramirez is a better player than he was last year. A lot of these guys are going to do better and they also have some younger guys with energy. But let’s not forget we’re only 13 games into the year. I know you’re printing your playoff tickets already, but there’s a long way to go here.”

He had to admit, though, that the team’s turnaround on offense has been dramatic.

“No, they’re playing great,” he said. “Look, we watched video on them and we’re going to have our scouting meeting here in a minute. I know they are swinging the bat well, they are scoring a bunch of runs and they have some energy. I know last year playing against these guys, there wasn’t a lot of energy but they have turned it around and have been off to a good start.”

Series preview: Red Sox at White Sox

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
1:31
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Jake PeavyAP Photo/Elise AmendolaJake Peavy has a 2.13 ERA in two starts this season with the Red Sox.
CHICAGO -- The early-season tests only get harder for the Chicago White Sox as the World Series champion Boston Red Sox roll into U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday for a three-game series.

Along with the opportunity to measure themselves against last year's best, this series also represents the return of Jake Peavy and A.J. Pierzynski.

The sometimes contentious battery mates on the South Side came to Boston from different routes. Peavy was traded to Boston on July 30 of last year as the White Sox roster reshaping began in earnest. A three-team deal, that also included the Detroit Tigers, had Peavy going to Boston, Avisail Garcia going to the White Sox and infielder Jose Iglesias going to Detroit.

In an odd twist, it is the youngsters Garcia and Iglesias who are out with injuries, while the often-injured Peavy is going strong with a 2.13 ERA in the early part of the season.

Pierzynski signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox this offseason after finishing up a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers last season. The durable catcher played in another 134 games last season, while collecting 529 at-bats. He batted a solid .272 with 17 home runs and 70 RBIs. In 11 games this year, he is batting .314 with one home run and four RBIs.

While the setting might look the same to both former White Sox players, the product on the field will certainly require a double-take. Aside from stretches in 2012, the White Sox have struggled to put runners on base and to deliver the clutch hit. The 2014 White Sox have been the antithesis of that.

Heading into Tuesday night's series opener, the White Sox lead all of baseball in runs scored with 80, on-base percentage at .356 and are second in OPS at .816. Alexei Ramirez leads the AL in hitting with a .420 batting average, a whopping 35 points higher than the next closest player, the Minnesota Tiwns' Jason Kubel. Ramirez also leads in hits (21) and OPS (1.143).

Peavy will pitch in the series opener Tuesday and after his outing is finished he can resume his friendship with a number of players on the White Sox. Starting Wednesday he will get a chance to watch his old buddies from his former rotation take the mound.

"I told Chris Sale, 'I know you wanted Old Man Peavy but you're going to get our left-hander [Jon Lester] Thursday night," Sale told ESPNBoston.com. "If you want to be the best left-hander in the league, you got to surpass this guy that we're throwing at you.

"Chris Sale is such a good kid, one of my dear, dear buddies. I pull for him, keep in contact with him on a weekly basis. I tried to be the best role model I could be, the best friend I could be period. He's young, kind of in the same place I was. He had a son at a very young age, we kind of walked through the same path of life. Both from the South, him Florida, me Alabama, we hit it off.

"Johnny Danks, the same way. The three of us are really close."

Pierzynski remains a fan favorite on the South Side, and his bond to Chicago, which started in 2005, remains strong.

"I don't think you can beat Chicago in a lot of things," Pierzynski said. "Lake Shore Drive is about as good as it gets. The city's clean. Nice people, they look out for you and take care of you."

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Paul Konerko could start in Wednesday's game, especially since Clay Buchholz will be on the mound for the Red Sox. Konerko is 7-for-15 (.467) lifetime against the left-hander with a home run, three RBIs and two walks. ... The Red Sox's Mike Napoli has 27 career at-bats against Danks, who is scheduled to start Wednesday, and has 13 strikeouts with a .222 batting average. ... Peavy and Adam Dunn are good friends. So how have they fared against each other? Dunn is 5-for-11 with two doubles in his last three games against Peavy, but just 5-for-31 with 11 strikeouts lifetime.

NOTES



Alexei Ramirez has a hit in all 13 White Sox games this season and needs a hit in two more games to tie Frank Thomas' club record for longest hit streak to open a season. ... White Sox leadoff man Adam Eaton has multiple hits in five consecutive games, the longest such streak for the team since Alex Rios did the same in 2012. ... Conor Gillaspie is on an 11-game hitting streak. ... Jose Abreu has four home runs and 14 RBIs for the White Sox, but is just 1-for-11 over his past three games. ... Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedrioa (wrist) and closer Koji Uehara (shoulder) are day to day. ... The Red Sox won last year's series 4-2 and have won 12 of the past 16 games played between the teams going back to 2011.


PITCHING MATCHUPS



Tuesday: Red Sox right-hander Jake Peavy (0-0, 2.13 ERA) will face White Sox right-hander Erik Johnson (0-1, 9.58).
Wednesday: Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz (0-1, 6.97) will face White Sox left-hander John Danks (1-0, 4.15).
Thursday: Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester (1-2, 2.57) will face White Sox left-hander Chris Sale (3-0, 2.66).

Homers part of the equation for Sox success

August, 26, 2013
8/26/13
8:35
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- When Ken Williams took over as general manager of the Chicago White Sox in 2001, he believed the way to win in a ballpark that played small was to hit home runs and outpitch other clubs. If that equation is still true, then a good portion of the team’s offensive woes can be blamed on a lack of the long ball. Projecting the current numbers, the entire starting lineup will be collectively down nearly 80 home runs at the end of the season compared with its 2012 total.

During the White Sox's recent surge in the win column, the home run ball has been a part of the process. Chicago has won eight of its past nine games, while hitting 11 long balls.

"The home runs come from us collectively having better at-bats," hitting coach Jeff Manto said. "When people seize the opportunity to get better at-bats, you will see us hit more home runs."

The Sox lost 43 home runs combined with the free-agent signings of Kevin Youkilis and A.J. Pierzynski elsewhere. The only two players who will come close to their career home run averages are Alejandro De Aza and Adam Dunn.

"I don’t think there is any team that doesn’t like [home runs]," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. "We haven’t hit that many early in the year. Earlier, when we did hit them, they were not at the right time. Lately, they have been coming at important times. [Dayan] Viciedo, Dunn and [Jordan] Danks have had big homers for us lately."

(Read full post)

As Pierzynski watches, Phegley delivers

August, 24, 2013
8/24/13
10:43
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- It hasn't been a season to remember for Chicago White Sox catchers, so with the team's old backstop in the house, Josh Phegley tried to do something about it.

Digging in at the plate in the ninth inning in front of Texas Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski, Phegley ripped a game-ending single into left field to give the White Sox a 3-2 victory. It was the first game-ending hit for Phegley in his 37th career game.

Phegley entered batting just .176 (15-for-85) over his past 25 games, looking nothing like the aggressive hitter that burst upon the scene in early July.

Josh Phegley
AP Photo/David BanksJosh Phegley is mobbed by his teammates after his single to left in the ninth lifted the White Sox to a 3-2 win over the Rangers.
"The offense is going to come. I'm not real worried about it," said Phegley, who entered the game in the eighth inning after Jeff Keppinger batted for starting catcher Tyler Flowers. "But to come through in that situation for the team is awesome. I just want to do whatever I can to help the team, and in that specific moment, I needed to get a base hit so we could go home, and came through."

Combining their numbers this season, White Sox catchers entered play Saturday last in the American league in runs (41), hits (86), batting average (.197) and on-base percentage (.241).

Flowers was given his first full-time catching job at the start of the season but has since been replaced by the rookie Phegley. Highlighting their combined struggles has been the presence this weekend of Pierzynski, who was solid for eight seasons in a White Sox uniform and was a fan favorite before moving on to the Rangers.

If Flowers and Phegley wondered how much White Sox fans appreciated Pierzynski, it has been on display often. Pierzynski has been cheered loudly when the pregame lineups are announced, when he comes to the plate and even when he jogs to the bullpen before the game to warm-up the starting pitcher.

Despite not hitting well of late, Phegley was given the start for every game of the just-completed trip. The White Sox went 6-1 mostly because of solid pitching. White Sox pitchers do own a 3.59 ERA when Phegley is behind the plate this season.

On Saturday, Flowers was actually given his first start since Aug. 14.

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: White Sox 3, Rangers 2

August, 24, 2013
8/24/13
9:34
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive


CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox evened the series against the first-place Texas Rangers with a 3-2 victory on Saturday.

How it happened: Josh Phegley delivered a game-ending single in the bottom of the ninth, the first game-ending hit of his career. It was the eighth game-ending hit by the White Sox this season. The teams traded home runs in the sixth inning, with former White Sox outfielder Alex Rios hitting a two-run shot and Adam Dunn matching that. Former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski singled in front of Rios' home run. Chicago starter Hector Santiago dueled Rangers starter Yu Darvish to a draw.

What it means: Santiago continues to impress in a starting role, giving up two runs to the Rangers in 6 1/3 innings, a day after staff ace Chris Sale was crushed for eight runs in his outing. The left-hander has lost just twice after June 16, although he also has seven no-decisions. He has given up a combined four earned runs over his past three outings, starting against the Tigers and at Minnesota before facing the Rangers on Saturday.

Outside the box: Dunn moved within one of reaching the 30-homer mark for the ninth time in his career and second with the White Sox. He hit 41 last season. His opposite-field drive off Darvish on Saturday moved him into sole possession of 41st place all time with 435, one ahead of Andruw Jones and Juan Gonzalez. Dunn is now two home runs shy of matching Jason Giambi for 40th place all time.

Off beat: Pierzynski was hit by one of his old teammates again. Santiago drilled him in the back with a 90 mph fastball. Pierzynski made a non-threatening gesture at Santiago before running to first base, where he looked to be laughing about it with Paul Konerko. Earlier this season at Texas, Addison Reed hit Pierzynski with a pitch.

Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander John Danks (3-10, 4.22 ERA) to the mound Sunday in the finale of the three-game series. The Rangers will counter with right-hander Matt Garza (3-1, 4.32) in the 1:10 p.m. start from U.S. Cellular Field.

Rios not bothered by being ignored

August, 24, 2013
8/24/13
7:45
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- After watching Texas Rangers teammate A.J. Pierzynski get a five-minute video salute and a standing ovation on Friday night, you would think Alex Rios would be upset. The White Sox honored Pierzynski for his eight seasons of solid play. Rios, who was with Chicago four seasons, was barely acknowledged by the fan base.

[+] EnlargeAlex Rios
Bob Levey/Getty ImagesAlex Rios did not feel slighted by the reception he received from White Sox fans compared with A.J. Pierzynski.
"Hey, I did not mind that," Rios said. "It was up to the fans to express what they felt at that time. A.J. played for the Sox eight years, and they won a World Series with him. I understand why his reception was better than mine. I am not a personality that brings much media attention. I don’t think, in general, people see what I bring to the table. That is too bad, but I don’t go out and seek attention. I really only blame myself because I don’t overexpose myself to media or other sources."

Rios, who was traded to Texas in late July, has fit in nicely with his new ballclub. The Rangers have been on a tear since he was acquired from Chicago. His new club has won 19 of 23 while overtaking Oakland as the leader in the American League West.

"The people have been great to me here," said the right fielder, who replaced Nelson Cruz following the latter's 50-game suspension. "I felt like a part of the team immediately. A.J. helped me a lot by introducing me around and relaxing me."

The 31-year-old Puerto Rico native misses Chicago and his former teammates but loves the situation he has ended up in.

“I always say you come to the field for one reason, and that is to win," he said. "When you are winning like we are, you are much more motivated to go to the field and do your job. To play here is like a breath of fresh air. I am lucky, but that doesn’t mean I disrespect Chicago or my former teammates."

Current teammate Ian Kinsler likes what Rios has brought to the Rangers.

(Read full post)

Pierzynski sees error in Sox's way

August, 24, 2013
8/24/13
6:19
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Nobody asked A.J. Pierzynski how the Chicago White Sox should handle the transition to a new catcher this season, but if somebody had, he would have offered a different idea.

After eight seasons on the South Side, Pierzynski moved on when his contract expired following the 2012 season, with Tyler Flowers becoming the heir apparent. A struggling Flowers has now given way to Josh Phegley, who is getting the bulk of the games behind the plate.

Pierzynski has no gripe with the White Sox’s decision to go young at catcher, but he thinks they could have done Flowers a huge favor when the season started.

“I was fortunate when I came into Minnesota, I had a veteran guy behind me, Tom Prince, who when things went bad he was there to kind of soften it and say, ‘This is what’s happening,’” Pierzynski said. “And unfortunately, for those guys, they didn’t really have that. Tyler had Hector [Gimenez], who is a good guy but had never really been around [the major leagues].”

(Read full post)

Pierzynski touched by White Sox tribute

August, 24, 2013
8/24/13
12:06
AM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
A.J. Pierzynski returned to U.S. Cellular field on Friday for the first time since leaving as a free agent after the 2012 season, and he got a standing ovation and four-minute video tribute from his former team. The veteran catcher went 1-for-5 on the evening with a sac fly and an RBI. The always confident Pierzynski was frozen in emotion while helping to warm up starter Martin Perez; he watched the video board in center field as the highlights of his eight-year Sox career were shown between the top and bottom of the first inning.

[+] EnlargeA.J. Pierzynski
David Banks/Getty ImagesFormer White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski of the Texas Rangers acknowledges the crowd before Friday's game.
“I was trying to look," he said. “I know they had some wrestling clips which I know the guys liked. The parts I saw I thought were awesome.”

The 36-year-old catcher admitted to being almost lost in emotion for the first time in his career on the field. "It was great," he said. "From the time I ran out to warm up the pitcher, the fans were cheering. After that -- well, it is something I will never forget. When I look back, I will say that was one of the best moments of my career.”

Pierzynski shared a few moments with close friend Paul Konerko at the plate and when Pierzynski got his lone hit of the game, a single in the eighth inning. "Paul is Paul, and I love him to death,” he said. “He is not having the year he wants to have. I talk to Paul all of the time, and when he came up, he said, ‘it is still weird seeing you in that uniform.' He is one of my best friends. Any time I get to talk to him, it is always entertaining and enlightening.”

The Texas Rangers increased their lead in the American League West with the 11-5 victory. They have won 19 of the their past 23 games.

"We thought from the start of the season we had a pretty good team," Pierzynski said. "It took a while for things to happen. We were pretty banged up, which is not an excuse, but we finally have got guys settled in and we made some moves. We started to play better, and it is fun. We have five starters that we know can give us a chance. Our bullpen is as good as anyone has. I think we will be OK.”

Neal Cotts' return also rings true

August, 23, 2013
8/23/13
8:48
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- A.J. Pierzynski's return got most of the attention Friday, but another member of the 2005 World Series champions tiptoed quietly into U.S. Cellular Field as a member of the Texas Rangers.

Reliever Neal Cotts, a key contributor to the White Sox’s championship team, is in the midst of an impressive comeback this season after not appearing in a major league game for nearly four years because of an elbow injury.

Traded to the Chicago Cubs after the 2006 season, Cotts has undergone two elbow surgeries and attempted failed comebacks with the Pirates and Yankees before pitching in the Rangers’ minor league system last year.

He made the Rangers' roster out of spring training this year and has been impressive with a 1.30 ERA in 40 appearances.

“Eventually I just wanted to get out on the field and see if I could do it again,” Cotts said. “That was the whole point of last year, I wanted to get back. If it was going to be the end, if I wasn’t going to pitch anymore, I’d rather have it be done on the field. If performance wise you’re not good enough, health wise you’re not good enough, then at least you know you were able to try. That was basically my goal going into last year.”

(Read full post)

A.J. Pierzynski returns to South Side

August, 23, 2013
8/23/13
8:21
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Former Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski returned to the South Side of Chicago Friday night for the first time since leaving as a free agent after the 2012 season.

Now with the first-place Texas Rangers, Pierzynski, who spent eight seasons with Chicago beginning in 2005, will always be associated with that world championship White Sox team.

“This was home for a long time for me,” Pierzynski said. “Both of my children were born here. It is unfortunate that things happen, but I ended up in a pretty darn good place.”

(Read full post)

Quick move as Sox call up Leury Garcia

August, 22, 2013
8/22/13
1:30
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
RangersAP Photo/Elaine ThompsonLeury Garcia gives the Sox plenty of speed and some flexibility in the lineup.
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox announced Thursday that speedy infielder Leury Garcia was being called up to the major league club and was available to play against the Kansas City Royals.

Acquired Aug. 9 as the player to be named later in the trade that sent Alex Rios to the Texas Rangers, the 22-year-old Garcia has 25 games of major league experience, all earlier this season with the Rangers. He played in eight games at Triple-A Charlotte after he was acquired.

The White Sox opened a roster spot after Wednesday's game at Kansas City when outfielder Blake Tekotte was optioned back to Charlotte.

Void of team speed, the White Sox have that now in Garcia, who was considered by Baseball America at the start of the season to possess the best speed in the Rangers' system. The same publication also said Garcia had the best infield arm among farm hands.

The 5-foot-7, 160-pounder batted just .192 (10-for-52) in his brief early-season stint with the Rangers, scoring eight runs. He made nine of his 11 starts with the Rangers at second base, but has played 402 of his 483 minor league games at shortstop and has some center field experience as well. He had 158 steals in the minor leagues.

Garcia, who will wear uniform No. 28 with the White Sox, has been successful on 78.6 percent of his steal attempts in the minor leagues and stole at least 30 bases in each of his previous three seasons, including 51 steals in 2010.

Garcia and Rios are poised to square off on opposing sides this weekend, when the Rangers arrive at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday to open a three-game series. The Rangers’ A.J. Pierzynski will also be making his return to the South Side.

Pierzynski set for roller-coaster weekend

August, 22, 2013
8/22/13
1:02
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
AJ PierzynskiBrace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty ImagesA.J. Pierzynski figures to receive a warm welcome in his return to U.S. Cellular Field on Friday.
CHICAGO -- A.J. Pierzynski will be torn Friday as he make his long-awaited return to U.S. Cellular Field.

Pierzynski will once again get to play in front of Chicago White Sox fans that treated him so well for eight seasons, but he will also try to send those fans disappointed now that he plays for the Texas Rangers.

The veteran catcher knows it will be a whirlwind three days.

"I will be glad to get it over with, especially Friday," Pierzynski told reporters in Texas on Wednesday. "But I'm looking forward to it and seeing some people. I still have a lot of friends over there, guys who I will be friends with for life."

(Read full post)

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jose Abreu
BA HR RBI R
.317 36 107 80
OTHER LEADERS
HRJ. Abreu 36
RBIJ. Abreu 107
RA. Ramirez 82
OPSJ. Abreu .964
WC. Sale 12
ERAC. Sale 2.17
SOC. Sale 208