A.J. Catches TroubleFrom a Traffic Cop

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A.J. Catches TroubleFrom a Traffic Cop

Wednesday, March 2, 2011
4:30 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com
A.J. Pierzynski wasnt scheduled to catch on Wednesday vs. the Cincinnati Reds, but he caught something anyhow.

Apparently, I was going too fast on the highway trying to get here, trying to get prepared for the game, Pierzynski admitted, with his Campbell Soup Kid grin. I wasnt in a good mental state for this game. Thank God I was only DHing.

What truly bewildered the veteran catcher was that he was wearing his White Sox uniformand still took a ticket on the chin.

Ive never been pulled over in my uniform and given a ticket, he said. Full uniform, that was interesting. So I loved it when he said, Oh, you play for the White Sox? I said, How did you guess? Figure it out.

A series of pregame tweets by Guillen (A.J. Pierzynski got a ticket coming to play the Reds lol With the uniform on thats funny. Arizona police are awesome lol. Please policeman, be nice, send insurance card back to A.J. He is a good kid, he only has like 223 tickets in his life lol lol.) broke the news that his catcher had been caught speedingwhile in full uniformby an Arizona trooper.

That was the funniest, Guillen said. The way we played the last couple of days, the ticket was awesome news. We were begging the police to at least give him his insurance card back.

The catcher was in full uniform, but couldnt talk his way out of the ticket. There was initial talk in the clubhouse that the ticket issuer identified himself as a Cubs fan, but Pierzynski denied that.

I cant believe people hate A.J. like that, Guillen said, possibly not believing even his own words. Youre wearing a major-league uniform, you think youre going to get a break.

The rapscallion backstop also was coy about whether he was driving 75 mph in a 65 zone. When asked whether he thought he was speeding, he smiled and replied, I cannot comment on that. Talk to my lawyer.

Playing in the game as the designated hitter, Pierzynski went 0-for-3 with two RBI.

Free A.J.

Pierzynski noted, and Guillen confirmed, there was a collection being taken up in the dugout during the gamebut not to help out the teams controversial catcher.

They said in the dugout theyd get a collection going, Pierzynski noted, if they could get the cop to taze me.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.

57 Days to Kickoff: Coal City

57 Days to Kickoff: Coal City

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 1, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 26.

School: Coal City

Head coach: Lenny Onsen

Assistant coaches: Jim Mikula, Francis Loughran, Jim Looper, Ryan Bunton, Mark Masters, Ryan Vanduyne

How they fared in 2015: 5-5 (3-2) Interstate 8 Large Conference. Coal City made the 4A state playoffs and lost to Marengo in opening round action.

Biggest storyline in 2016: Can the Coalers run the football effectively this season? 

Names to watch this season: RB Nick Hayden, OL Virgil Geers

Biggest holes to fill: Who steps up to replace graduated QB Nick Micetich this season?

EDGY's Early Take: With three starting offensive linemen back along with RB Nick Hayden in the fold, look for the Coalers to challenge for the top spot in the I-8 and beyond.

White Sox: Nearly three years later, Matt Davidson is back in The Show

White Sox: Nearly three years later, Matt Davidson is back in The Show

It’s been 1,006 days since Matt Davidson last played in a major league baseball game. 

In between, the former top-100 prospect endured a two-year flirtation with the Mendoza Line while being passed over time after time for a return to the big leagues, even as a September call-up. But after hitting .268/.349/.444 with 10 home runs in 75 games with Triple-A Charlotte this year, the 25-year-old Davidson was called up to the major leagues on Thursday and is hitting eighth as the White Sox designated hitter. 

“It’s been a long ride, but I’m glad to be here,” Davidson said. 

The White Sox acquired Davidson for closer Addison Reed from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Dec. 16, 2013, with the hope he could be a staple at third base and the middle of the team’s lineup for years. But after not making the White Sox out of spring training two years ago, he struggled in back-to-back seasons in Triple-A. 

Davidson hit 43 home runs in that span, but had strikeout rates north of 30 percent both years and saw his OPS plummet to .644 in 2014 and .668 in 2015. During that offensive malaise, Davidson didn’t have any illusions of returning to the major leagues for the first time since the Diamondbacks brought him in in August and September of 2013. 

“The past couple years I haven’t really had a good reason to be impatient,” Davidson said. “I’ve struggled, so I kind of knew I wasn’t getting called up. You’ve got to take it day by day, one step at a time and focus on what you need to do to get here.”

The White Sox liked what they saw from Davidson during spring training in March, but needed to see him translate that positivity into regular-season success. Davidson’s .792 OPS was the best he’s had since 2013, and his strikeout rate dropped to about 26 percent. 

With the White Sox having an off day next Thursday and the All-Star break approaching quickly, there wasn’t a need for an extra arm in the bullpen, so Matt Purke was optioned to Triple-A and Davidson was brought up. 

“I think when you hit rock bottom and you try to work your way back up and build yourself back up, something happens there,” manager Robin Ventura said. “Not only doing that in spring training, but doing what he’s doing in Triple-A is the stuff that you build off of.”

With left-hander Tommy Milone — who’s given the White Sox offense plenty of headaches in the past — starting for the Minnesota Twins on Thursday, Davidson will get an immediate opportunity to make an impact, albeit from the back of the lineup. 

Ventura said he’s not worried about Davidson trying to do too much in an effort to make an immediate positive impression in his first major league game since Sept. 28, 2013. Davidson and the White Sox feel like his 2014 and 2015 issues are behind him, and the focus is on getting him to contribute for a team that expects to be in contention for a playoff spot throughout the summer. 

“I think he’s in a better spot than he’s ever been and understands himself better,” Ventura said. “I think he’s gotten over trying to impress and trying to do too much and the pressures that come with that. Even in spring training he was in a great spot. So I think that whole experience has helped him for right now. Seeing him today, he still seems to be pretty level headed about who he is and what he can do.” 

Report: Brian Campbell likely to rejoin Blackhawks

Report: Brian Campbell likely to rejoin Blackhawks

Free agency officially begins Friday at 11 a.m. CT, but all signs point to Brian Campbell rejoining the Blackhawks for the 2016-17 season.

It's been widely rumored that the 37-year-old defenseman has been open to a return to Chicago, where he helped bring a Stanley Cup to in 2010 and still resides in the offseason. 

The latest report comes from Andy Strickland of Fox Sports Midwest, saying Campbell is likely to sign a one-year deal with the Blackhawks. 

This comes less than a day after Campbell told the Chicago Tribune that he's willing to take a hometown discount if it meant playing for the Blackhawks, a team that ranks No. 1 on his list.

If reports turn out to be true, Campbell immediately gives the Blackhawks a top-four defenseman and alleviates some of the pressure off the bottom pairing, such as Trevor van Riemsdyk, who was asked to take on a larger role last season.