SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Dewayne Wise’s conversation Tuesday with former teammate A.J. Pierzynski went about how the outfielder figured it would.
Wise was the first White Sox batter to greet his ex-teammate, now a member of the Texas Rangers, in the first inning at Surprise Stadium.
The two veterans exchanged a few pleasantries and well wishes in the teams’ first meeting since Pierzynski signed a one-year, $7.5 million contract in December.
But after Wise took three straight pitches from Rangers starter Yu Darvish to begin the at-bat, Pierzynski began to chirp, just as Wise expected.
“He kept telling me to swing the bat and help the pitcher out a little bit,” Wise said with a smile. “It was typical A.J.”
The sight of Pierzynski adorned in Ranger blue was anything but typical, outfielder Alex Rios said. But in the world of sports, where business decisions have become the norm and players routinely leave teams they’ve played with for eight seasons, strange only lasts for a few seconds.
“At first it’s weird, but you get used to it,” Rios said.
Earlier this winter and again this month, Pierzynski had nothing but nice things to say about the White Sox. He had made note of his appreciation for the comments from White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf after Pierzynski signed with the Rangers and said he keeps up with several members of the organization. Although he has those ties and eight seasons of memories, Pierzynski said Tuesday’s game was no different than any other on the team’s schedule.
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“There’s not very much to say about it,” Pierzynski said. “It was a great run we had, but it’s over and done. Everyone knows how I feel about the people there and the fans, but it’s over. I still have friends over there. I still have people I communicate with a lot over there, people that will be lifelong friends that I played with. ... I wish them nothing but the best, I have no hard feelings and what happened, happened.”
Wise shared the same sentiment and seemed to appreciate his interaction with Pierzynski. After he got ahead 2-1 in the count, Wise fouled off two straight pitches, the second resulting in a pop out to third.
“He doesn’t bother me,” Wise said. “He’s the type of player that can play on my team any day because you know he’s going to show up ready to play and give you 100 percent. That’s what I like about him. Everybody has their opinion but the guy’s a gamer, I enjoyed playing with him and I wish him the best.”