Pierzynski: I'm over the whole All-Star thing

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Pierzynski: I'm over the whole All-Star thing

A.J. Pierzynski has said about all he has to say regarding his exclusion from the American League roster for next weeks MLB All-Star Game.

Despite a strong case and many supporters inside and outside the White Sox clubhouse, Pierzynski was not named to the roster by Texas manager Ron Washington, who is in town as the Rangers and White Sox begin a three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field tonight.

On Sunday, Washington expressed remorse for having to leave Pierzynski off the team. Pierzynski responded harshly at the time, but toned down his comments Tuesday in the Chicago clubhouse.

Im kind of over the whole All-Star thing, so its nice to hear but at the end of the day it doesnt change anything, Pierzynski said about Washingtons comments. Im looking forward to four days at my house, and getting away from baseball and just hanging out with my family.

Thats a different tone than Pierzynski had Sunday.

If (Washington) felt that bad he would have put me on the team, Pierzynski said then. He had an opportunity to do it and he didnt do it. Obviously he can feel as bad as he wants, but he didnt feel that bad.

For his part, Washington wasnt interested in rehashing his decision or reiterating his initial statement. He also didnt want to respond to Pierzynskis rebuke.

I said what I had to say about AJ, and it came from my heart, Washington said. After that, I have no more comment on that. I said what I said. I was asked a question. I brought up Pierzynskis name, thats about it.

Pierzynski is far from the first player to feel snubbed by the All-Star Game selection process. Its an annual event that sometimes overshadows the roster announcement itself.

He deserves to go, but this happens every year and its happened for years and years and years, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. Its nothing new. He deserves to go. Hes played great. But unless they expand the rosters, this is something were going to talk about all the time.

Ventura added he felt Alex Rios also deserved a spot on the team.

Pierzynski is having one of his best seasons in a White Sox uniform. He is batting .285 with 14 home runs and 45 RBI. He leads AL catchers in RBI and is second in home runs, slugging percentage, OPS, runs scored and average.

AJ has been by far one of our most steady offensive guys, but you could say that about (Alejandro) De Aza and Rios, too, said Adam Dunn, one of two White Sox who were named to the AL team. Those guys had tremendous first halves and deserved to go, but I realize you cant take the whole team.

Pierzynskis exclusion came down to Washington choosing Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer as the squads third catcher. Rangers catcher Mike Napoli won the fans vote and will start. Baltimores Matt Wieters won the players vote.

By rule every team must be represented, and Mauer was a clear choice as the Twins sole selection. Mauer leads the AL in on-base percentage and is third in batting average entering Tuesdays action.

When youre picking teams sometimes a lot of people will get snubbed, not because you wanted to but thats the way it is, said Washington, who also managed the AL All-Star team in 2011. You only have so much that you can do and you try to do the best with what you have to do. You cant please everyone.

You got to move on. Thats just life, theres nothing you can do about it. Im certainly not going to apologize for what we put together. We tried to do the best we could.

Making things especially interesting is that Pierzynski and Washington are in the same stadium for the next three days.

Pierzynski said hes known Washington for a while and got to know him a little better during the Rangers run to the AL pennant last season while working for FOX Sports. But he had no plans to confront Washington regarding the perceived snub.

I will say hello to him -- Ive known him for a long time, Pierzynski said. Ill wish him luck and thats it.

Lucas Giolito striving to contribute to White Sox 'as soon as possible'

Lucas Giolito striving to contribute to White Sox 'as soon as possible'

At one point, it was looking like Lucas Giolito could be headed to the White Sox in exchange for Chris Sale.

But when Sale was dealt to the Boston Red Sox, Giolito's name was in the clear of rumors — until 29 hours later, when the Nationals' top prospect would be headed to Chicago in a different trade, which sent outfielder Adam Eaton to Washington.

“It’s kind of like the world we live in now. Social media is always out there and everything is on Twitter,” Giolito said in a conference call Friday. “I saw my name being mentioned on Twitter for Chris Sale. I know with the winter meetings all sorts of stuff being thrown around. I was just trying to focus on what I’m doing in this offseason which is lifting and all my workouts. Kind of just whatever happens, happens. 

“It’s funny that Sale ended up going to the Red Sox and something else happens that I’m going to the White Sox now with a couple teammates. It’s really interesting stuff but I’m super excited.”

The move for Rick Hahn & Co. to acquire Giolito was the second major trade to begin the White Sox rebuilding process. But Giolito didn't come alone.

In addition, the White Sox received Reynaldo Lopez — who Giolito has played with since 2014 — and the Nationals' 2016 first-round pick Dane Dunning.

"I definitely think it’s amazing to be coming over to the White Sox with a bunch of young talent," Giolito said. "I think it’s a great opportunity for us to all develop and get better and hopefully put a really good team together in Chicago. Definitely excited to be coming over with a couple guys from my previous organization."

[MORE: Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right]

Giolito went 6-5 with a 2.97 ERA and 1.28 WHIP across three minor-league levels this past season. He admitted his mechanics weren't quite in sync and is looking to improve on that.

"Sometimes things get out of whack. I believe I let too much get out of whack last year," Giolito said. "So this year with my training program I have in this offseason — lifting and Pilates and everything — I’m just trying to make sure that I can stay as athletic as possible so I’m able to repeat the right delivery more often. Once I start playing catch and doing bullpens and everything these next few weeks, right before spring training, I’m going to make sure I put that all together so I can repeat my delivery as best as possible."

His struggles continued when he got to The Show.

In his major-league debut on June 28, Giolito held the New York Mets to just one hit over four scoreless innings before a rain delay cut his night short. That turned out to be his most effective outing of the season as he finished the year with an 0-1 record, 6.75 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in six games with the Nationals, four of them being starts.

"(My MLB debut) didn’t go as well as I would’ve liked it to go, obviously, as you look at the numbers and everything," he said, "but I feel that with the White Sox now (and) getting traded and everything, it’s kind of like a fresh opportunity and a new start to get up to the big leagues again and contribute and do everything I can to stay there as well."

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Despite his low numbers, the 22-year-old Giolito believes he's ready to play on the White Sox main roster as soon as next season.

"I’ve had some experience in the big leagues last year," Giolito said. "Especially last year, I took a lot positives away because I did experience such a good amount of failure in a lot of I’d say like hardship when I made it up and didn’t perform up to what I believe is my best capabilities.

"I’ve pitched a good amount of innings in the minor leagues and I’ve had a little experience in the big leagues so I’m just really looking forward to making it up in the big leagues with the White Sox and contributing as soon as possible."

Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right

Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right

That Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada have reunited is a nice story, but it won't dramatically change the mindset of the rebuilding White Sox, who earlier this week demonstrated they aren't messing around.

Abreu said in a statement issued by the White Sox on Friday that he's "very happy" about the prospect of again playing alongside Moncada, who played 12 games with the star slugger in 2012 for Cienfuegos in the Cuban National Series. Moncada, 21, is the centerpiece of a four-player package acquired from the Boston Red Sox for Chris Sale on Tuesday, a toolsy infielder who MLB.com has rated as the No. 1 prospect in baseball.

While the concept of Abreu mentoring Moncada has plenty of merit — the first baseman's work ethic is outstanding, and he's beloved by coaches and teammates — don't think the White Sox would hesitate to trade him if someone paid the right price. White Sox general manager Rick Hahn just spent four days at the Winter Meetings discussing how a team that just traded away its best pitcher and position player remains open to listening to all offers and is prepared to do what is must to get the franchise healthy again. 

"We're extremely open-minded on ways to continue the process that we started," Hahn said earlier this week, adding that the White Sox "have to make some painful decisions."

The White Sox have grown tired of never having all the pieces — or even more than a few — to fill the holes created by injury, poor performance, etc. They want to be flush with young talent and essentially have said anything that isn't nailed down at Guaranteed Rate Field is available with the exceptions of Tim Anderson and Carlos Rodon.

The team wants to cash in on the chips it possesses.

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While they don't have a ton, the few the White Sox have could help expedite a rebuild process as the Sale and Eaton trades have shown. Those deals brought back seven players, including three who played at the big league level last season (Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez). Some of those players potentially would start 2017 in the big leagues, and that possibility increases the internal value of Abreu and starting pitcher Jose Quintana, who is equally revered among teammates and coaches for his dedication and team-first mentality. 

Having those young players see firsthand what it takes to excel in the majors from veteran teammates is invaluable. Abreu, who arrived in the United States from Cuba in late 2013, addressed that point in his statement about Moncada, who signed with Boston in 2015.

"Moncada is a five-tool player," Abreu said. "He really has everything needed to succeed, and I know that with the proper guidance of veteran players and coaches with experience he can become an All-Star caliber player."

"He is going to make a huge impact in the White Sox organization, and both the fans and the team will be thankful.

"I already spoke with him to welcome him to the team. I told him that I'm going to be there for him for everything that he needs on and off the field."

In a conference call Wednesday, Moncada said he's "thrilled" to once again play with Abreu. Whether they will hasn't yet been determined.

When asked about Moncada's 2017 starting point earlier in the week, Hahn said the 21-year still needs to develop. Moncada appeared in eight big league games last season for Boston and struggled with contact, striking out 12 times in 20 plate appearances. But that promotion came after a meteoric rise through Boston's farm system, an aggressive path that included only 45 games played above High-A. Nothing has been announced, but it appears Moncada will receive an invite to big league camp next spring and be seated near Abreu in the clubhouse. 

Still, Hahn sounds like he intends for Moncada to spend much of 2017 refining his approach in the minors. He also has demonstrated he is willing to dig deep and make more painful moves if it betters the team in the long run, all of which means the White Sox wouldn't hesitate to trade Abreu or Quintana if they get what they want.