Confirmed: Pierzynski agrees to deal, stays with Sox

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Confirmed: Pierzynski agrees to deal, stays with Sox

Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010
Updated 11:40 PM

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

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.

Todd Frazier out with left oblique strain

Todd Frazier out with left oblique strain

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier has been sidelined with what he's describing as a left oblique strain.  

Frazier — who produced a career high 40 home runs and 98 RBIs last season — said he injured himself swinging on Monday. White Sox manager Rick Renteria said Frazier is day-to-day and the club would take advantage of the extra time on the spring training calendar this season.
 
The veteran also said he expects to be cautious with the injury and thorough.

"Just felt a little tightness in my left side," Frazier said. "That's what spring training is for, you've got to just be careful. (Athletic trainer Herm Schneider has) been working with me the past day and a half. I don't feel like it's anything that serious, but we have so much time. Let's take a break, take a few days off and hopefully it keeps getting better and better.

"It's something I've dealt with before. But at the same time, from what I've heard they're not anything to mess with. So let's take a couple days and see how it is after a couple days and go from there."

[MORE: Lighter Avisail Garcia wants to show White Sox his best]

The White Sox begin their exhibition season on Saturday with a contest against the Los Angeles Dodgers. But the team's regular season opener isn't for another 5 1/2 weeks, which should give Frazier ample time to rest, rehab and prepare. The White Sox open the 2017 campaign at home on April 3 against the Detroit Tigers. 

"He's been working good," Renteria said. "I just saw him, he's smiling. He's day to day and we'll re-evaluate and see where he's at.

"We'll back him up. We're taking it day to day. We'll see where he's at before I can determine how far back we can push him back."

Lighter Avisail Garcia wants to show White Sox his best

Lighter Avisail Garcia wants to show White Sox his best

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Avisail Garcia said he worked all but two weeks this offseason in an effort to prove he can play the outfield. 

Whether it was winter ball in Venezuela or working out, the White Sox right fielder said he has lost nearly 15 pounds from the end of last season. He hopes to lose even more before the start of the season and thinks the lighter weight should help him in the field. Garcia — who was acquired in a three-team trade from Detroit in July 2013 — appears to have the inside track to be the team's starting right fielder. 

"I feel better like this," Garcia said. "I can run better like this. I can play better defense like this. I can hit better like this. I just have to keep working and lose a little bit more."

Garcia said he reported to camp at 254 pounds and wants to get down to 248. He's hopeful that lighter playing weight and more consistent playing time help him improve in the outfield, where he's been below average for his career. While defensive metrics show he was OK in limited play last season, Garcia had a miserable 2015 campaign in the field when he produced a minus-11 Defensive Runs Saved and minus-6.2 Ultimate Zone Rating. That came on the heels of a minus-8 DRS and minus-6.2 UZR showing in 2014.

Still, Garcia is hopeful he can make progress and prove to the rebuilding White Sox he's the man for the job.

"That's my regular position, and I know can do my job there, a really good job," Garcia said. "I'm just trying to prepare myself to get ready for the season and try to get in better shape, try to do my best to help my team win."

[RELATED: Under-the-radar Reynaldo Lopez impressing White Sox]

The field isn't the only area the White Sox and Garcia are hoping for improvement. Garcia hit .245/.307/.385 with 12 home runs and 59 RBIs in 453 plate appearances last season. For his career, Garcia has a OPS-plus of 93, which is seven points below league average. 

But based on his .355/.421/.538 slash line with runners in scoring position, the White Sox still think Garcia can become a very good hitter. They just need to help him translate the focus he puts into those 107 plate appearances into the majority of his trips to the plate.

"In those situations for us where he was a key person in terms of RBI situations, he didn't try to do too much," manager Rick Renteria said. "If he ended up hitting, getting an extra base hit in those situations, great. But if he didn't it wasn't anything he concerned himself with. I think we are just trying to make sure he focuses on honing in and simplifying what he wants to do in terms of approaches. Hopefully that can lead to him being more effective without runners on base."

Though there was some thought he wouldn't return this season, Garcia — who signed a one-year deal worth $3 million in December — tried not to think about it. He instead focused on his offseason program to have himself ready for what is likely his last chance to prove to the White Sox he belongs.

"I have a lot of responsibility coming," Garcia said. "I just want to be ready. I want to be my best. I want to have a good year for me, but for the team also. I have to get ready and play baseball."