ARLINGTON, Texas -- A.J. Pierzynski’s first at-bat against his old team will elicit stories between he and his old teammates long after their careers come to a close.
The White Sox are adamant there was no intent when closer Addison Reed struck their former catcher with a pitch in the ninth inning on Wednesday night. Although they then brought the tying run to the plate, the Texas Rangers couldn’t convert as Reed went on to close out a 5-2 White Sox victory at Rangers Ballpark.
“I didn’t expect that,” first baseman Paul Konerko said. “But I’m just glad it didn’t hurt him. I think he’s all right. I don’t know. He gave me some good material down at first base.”
Pierzynski immediately voiced his displeasure when Reed’s 0-1 slider struck his right elbow guard as he ventured down to first base. White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, the man tasked with replacing Pierzynski, said he asked Reed for an inside pitch.
“You have to throw (Pierzynski) in,” Flowers said. “You have to show him in. I wanted it elevated and in. I didn’t really want it that elevated or that far in. But it happens.”
Both Reed and White Sox manager Robin Ventura stressed the point the team had no intent of hitting Pierzynski, who played for the club from 2005-12.
This offseason, Pierzynski and the White Sox parted ways even though the catcher preferred to have finished his career on the South Side. Pierzynski signed a one-year, $7.5-million deal with the Rangers in December after minimal conversation between his representatives and the team.
But with his team on a three-game losing streak, Ventura said the White Sox had no room to play mind games with Pierzynski.
“With this lineup you’re not trying to send any message,” Ventura said. “You don’t want anybody on base because about 30 seconds (later) they got the tying run to the plate. There was no message.”
For his part, Reed said he understands why Pierzynski would be upset. Reed, who earned his ninth save, also said he didn’t hear any of Pierzynski’s comments because he was too locked in on the situation.
“I don’t think I would be too happy either,” Reed said. “I don’t think any hitter is happy to get hit at any point in the game. Obviously I know he’s going to be frustrated and being frustrated is part of the game.”
Once he reached first, Pierzynski conversed with Konerko, his former teammate of eight seasons. Konerko could be seen with a smile on his face as he assured Pierzynski the White Sox bore no ill will. Pierzynski insisted the two had a normal conversation among friends and believes the White Sox didn’t mean to throw at him.
“(It was) just Paul saying he didn’t think it was on purpose and I expect nothing less,” Pierzynski said. “I have to believe (them). What else is am I supposed to believe? That’s not the way you’re supposed to play the game and it’s fine. It’s over.”
Asked what Pierzynski said, Konerko declined to offer many details.
“He gave me some laughs, but I can’t repeat any of it,” Konerko said.