With his usual number taken on the Red Sox, A.J. Pierzynski turned to Hawk Harrelson for some inspiration.
Thanks to the presence of Mike Napoli, No. 12 was taken when Pierzynski arrived in Boston as a free agent over the winter. He's worn that number since joining the White Sox in 2005 and had it in Texas last year.
In Pierzynski's search for a new number, former teammate Paul Konerko offered a "half-joking" idea: Take the number Harrelson, whom Pierzynski has known since high school, wore with the Red Sox.
"And I thought ‘You know that’s not a bad idea,' " Pierzynski said Tuesday. "So I text Hawk and asked him what number he was and he said 40. So I just went with it."
It's for a good reason, but Pierzynski won't be able to honor Harrelson at U.S. Cellular Field until Wednesday's game with all players wearing No. 42 for Jackie Robinson Day on Tuesday.
"I hope he’s not sick," Pierzynski said (Harrelson missed a few games last weekend while feeling under the weather). "He’s going to be mad because we have to wear 42 today. Obviously that’s not a bad thing. It’s a great thing MLB does.
"He’s going to be mad because he’ll have to wait a day. He might call in sick again today."