CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: A.J. Pierzynski #12 of the Chicago White Sox prepares to bat against the Cleveland Indians. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
A.J. Pierzynski had a career season last year, hitting 27 home runs at 35 years old for the Chicago White Sox. For his efforts, the veteran catcher was left off the American League all-star team by Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington in favor of Washington's own guy, Mike Napoli.
Now, Pierzynski calls Washington "Skipper," and after publicly calling Washington out last summer, the surly veteran said he's put his displeasure in the rear-view mirror.
“Old news,” Washington told The Dallas Morning News. “I’ve always loved him because he did anything and everything to try to beat you. I admired that.”
Washington named Pierzynski the Rangers' starting catcher, ahead of Geovany Soto, who will serve as the backup after starting the majority of the games behind the plate down the stretch last year. Soto also served as what seemed to be the personal catcher for Rangers ace Yu Darvish, and would likely continue to serve in that role.
PIerzynski was one of five MLB catchers to start at least 120 games behind the plate last season, and the oldest of that bunch. He's looking forward to another such year.
“Physically, I feel awesome,” Pierzynski said. “Mentally, I’m as good as I’ve ever been. I’ve been very fortunate that my mom and dad gave me good health. That’s allowed me to do this. I’ll approach this year the same as every other. I’ve love to catch 162 [games], but I know that’s not possible. … I’ll be ready every day. I take pride in going out there every day and competing.”