Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010
Updated 11:40 PM
By Chuck Garfien
A.J. Pierzynski is back with the White Sox.
A source inside the negotiations has confirmed to Comcast SportsNet that the White Sox catcher has agreed to a 2-year, 8 million deal to return to the South Side.
It ends a wild day of drama surrounding Pierzynski, who was rumored to be on the verge of signing with the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday afternoon.
Pierzynski said all along that he wanted to come back to the White Sox. He didn't need to break the bank, he just wanted a fair deal. With this contract, he showed his loyalty to the team by taking a hefty pay cut from his 6.75 million salary in 2010.
"I'm excited to have AJ back," Jake Peavy told CSNChicago.com. "He is the ultimate competitor and a great teammate to go to war with."
One of the best hitting catchers in the game, Pierzynski struggled at the plate in the first half of last season, batting just .247. But he turned it on in the second half, raising his batting average to .270.
Reached Thursday night for reaction to the Pierzynski deal, Gordon Beckham told Comcast SportsNet, I could not be happier to have a great friend who is an incredible competitor back with the Sox. Im happy he gets to continue his great history in Chicago. I know it means a lot to him, his family, and also his fans, which include my grandmother.
Speaking on a media conference call earlier in the day, Kenny Williams confirmed that the Sox had many conversations with Pierzynski about bringing him back, but wasnt sure if hed have enough money left after taking care of his next priority: re-signing first baseman Paul Konerko.
Were in a holding pattern because to be honest, the next thing I would like to put back in a Sox uniform is Paul Konerko, Williams said Thursday afternoon.
It turns out A.J. beat him to it.
Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox sluggers Frank Thomas and Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.