A.J. Pierzynski received a scouting report from Mark Buehrle on returning to Chicago, and he doesn’t expect Friday’s game to be easy.
In fact, the former White Sox catcher would prefer to bypass Friday entirely and get on with the rest of his season. After eight seasons with the White Sox, Pierzynski is set to return to U.S. Cellular Field with the Texas Rangers. Pierzynski — who expressed interest in returning to the White Sox but was allowed to leave and signed a one-year, $7.5-million deal in December — is hitting fifth and starting behind the plate for the Rangers, who will face Chris Sale.
The White Sox plan to acknowledge Pierzynski’s tenure on the South Side with a pre-game video presentation.
“(Buehrle) told me what it was like when he came back, and he was emotional about it,” Pierzynski said. “I’ll be the same way. This was home for a long time and it’s unfortunate, but things happen and I ended up in a pretty darn good place.”
Pierzynski has nothing but good memories of his time in Chicago.
Whether on or off the field, Pierzynski has a deep appreciation for his time with the White Sox. Both his children were born and raised in Chicago. He said he loves and respects a fan base that welcomed him instantly and called the team’s first World Series title in 88 seasons his favorite highlight.
Pierzynski also has many friends from former teammates and coaches to stadium employees he’s excited to see. At the top of the list is White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, whom Pierzynski has a strong friendship and a deep respect for.
Asked if he has spoken to Reinsdorf about a post-career position within the organization, Pierzynski said talks have never been serious. He joked he would return to take over as the club’s president and mentioned he would love to one day take over for Hawk Harrelson as the team’s play-by-play man.
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Pierzynski is as stunned as everyone that the club has fallen on hard times because he thought the team’s pitching staff would keep the White Sox competitive. The veteran also reiterated he has no ill-will towards the club and wished they were doing better except for when they play the Rangers.
As for the view from the opposing dugout, where he spoke to media members on Friday afternoon, Pierzynski acknowledges it is strange. He hasn’t been in the visiting clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field since he was a member of the Minnesota Twins.
“It has been 10 years since I looked at it from this side,” Pierzynski said. “Coming in today, seeing people, the people who nobody knows, the workers, the behind-the-scenes people, it’s cool. I miss those people. I miss the city and the fans. It’s nice to come back, and I’ll be honest, I’ll be happy when it’s over and I can just move on.”