AJ may need extra boost for All-Star bid

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AJ may need extra boost for All-Star bid

NEW YORK -- A.J. Pierzynski celebrated his 1,000th game with the White Sox in style on Saturday with two solo home runs.

Already with 14 homers this season, the veteran catcher is within four of the career-high 18 he established in his first season with the White Sox in 2005. His play has many in the clubhouse of the belief Pierzynski is worthy of a nod when All-Star rosters are announced on Sunday. Pierzynskis current .849 OPS is easily the highest of his career and hes hitting .285 with 45 RBIs.

A two-time All-Star, Pierzynski said hed enjoy the opportunity to head to Kansas City over the break, but its not something hes going to count upon. As of last Monday, Pierzynski was fourth among American League catchers in the fan vote, one in which Texas Mike Napoli held a hearty lead. Minnesotas Joe Mauer is also a likely candidate to make the team because he is easily his teams top -- and perhaps only -- candidate for consideration.

It would be great, Pierzynski said. Ive done it a couple of times. Its awesome. Its the ultimate personal reward as a player to be voted as an All-Star, to go there and enjoy the game. At the same time, I know how it works. Its a popularity contest and I know Im probably not going to win it and Im not going to go. Ive been there before. Ive had good first halves before and not gone so Im not going to put a whole lot of stock into it. Or get my hopes up. I think I deserve it, but if not its OK. Im not going to lose any sleep over it.

Pierzynski believes his home run total is up because of a combination of technique and maturity. Whereas in the past he hit with more top spin, Pierzynski said he has tried to hit with more backspin this season. He also said he has done a good job to avoid getting out in front when he swings.

I think now that Ive gotten a little bit older, Ive settled down a little bit, Pierzynski said. I still have my moments where I get mad, but Ive kind of learned to control especially this year a little bit better. Just trying to technique em and just get the barrel and back spin balls instead of getting a little bit anxious and getting out front. Ive always hit a lot of balls with top spin. Its gotten me a lot of hits, but it doesnt lead to hitting for power and this year Ive hit a lot more balls with backspin that have carried.

Good health has allowed Pierzynski to reach the 1,000-game mark with the franchise quickly at a position where durability is rare. Pierzynski has averaged 133 games a season since he joined the White Sox.

Ive been lucky, Pierzynski said. I havent had any major injuries, things that put me on the shelf. Last year was my first time on the shelf and it was miserable. Im fortunate to have been on competitive teams where the manager runs me out there a lot and I have to thank my parents for giving me good genes. I enjoy my job, taking the field every day. Its something I hope I can do for a few more years.

Discomfort sidelines White Sox infielder Brett Lawrie

Discomfort sidelines White Sox infielder Brett Lawrie

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox held Brett Lawrie out Saturday after he reported discomfort in the same left leg that sidelined him for the final 2 1/2 months of 2016.

The second baseman has been a full participant the entire spring until he informed manager Rick Renteria what he was experiencing Saturday. 

"We're going to reevaluate him tomorrow and see where he's at," Renteria said. "He didn't feel quite right, and so he was in there earlier today getting treatment. We'll reevaluate tomorrow and make a determination where we're at in terms of trying to set some parameters for how we move forward."

A confusing, tricky series of injuries that Lawrie blamed on wearing orthotics limited him to 94 games last season. He hit the disabled list on July 22 and didn't discover the cause until after the season ended. But Lawrie reported to camp feeling healthy once again and has participated at 100 percent until this point, Renteria said.

"It's been good," Renteria said. "Everything has been clean. There have been no notifications anything had been amiss. He just woke up this morning and felt it. So we're going to be very cautious, take it a day at a time, reevaluate it and see where we're at."

Zack Collins, Yoan Moncada play as White Sox fall to Dodgers

Zack Collins, Yoan Moncada play as White Sox fall to Dodgers

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Manager Rick Renteria promised before Saturday's game the prospects would play and they certainly did.

White Sox prospects Zack Collins and Yoan Moncada both entered in the fifth inning of Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. Collins singled in two at-bats while Moncada, the centerpiece in the Chris Sale trade, went 0-for-2.

"It was fun," Collins said. "To be able to go out there on the first day was an honor to me. A little jittery, but very excited to play.

"I'm the new guy, it's my first year and the first game played and I get to play. It's definitely an honor."

It's a distinction that will be shared by many, Renteria said. With the White Sox focused on player development and a longer spring schedule, the prospects should get a long look. Given the club's top eight prospects — according to MLB.com — are in big league camp, many will see significant playing time early in camp.

"We've got a long spring and a lot of opportunities," Renteria said. "You're going to see a lot of our kids."

Reliever Zack Burdi, the 26th overall pick of last June's draft, is scheduled to appear in Sunday's game when the White Sox host the Rockies. The White Sox also tentatively have listed Michael Kopech and Reynaldo Lopez as the starting pitchers for their split-squad doubleheader on Tuesday. 

Collins took advantage of his first chance with a ninth-inning single off Dodgers pitcher Edward Paredes. Next up for the 2016 first-rounder is a report Monday for his teammates as part of Renteria's morning meetings.

"I have my little presentation going," Collins said. "I'll probably be more nervous than I will playing."