AJ Pierzynski, Catcher
Last season as he became the Texas Rangers' top catcher after Yorvit Torrealba was designated for assignment, Geovany Soto developed a pretty nice repoire with then-rookie starting pitcher Yu Darvish — so much so that it was assumed Soto would be Darvish's personal catcher in 2013 despite being relegated to backup duty with the free-agent signing of A.J. Pierzynski.
But so much for that as Pierzynski and Darvish have not only worked together numerous times this season but have dominated as Darvish looked perhaps better than he ever has in a Rangers uniform on Wednesday in the Rangers' 11-3 win over the rival Los Angeles Angels.
For third time in five starts, Darvish went at least six innings, allowed three or fewer hits, no runs and struck out at least 10 batters in Wednesday's game against the Angels, when he struck out 11 and went six innings in the blowout win.
The following from The Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant just shows what kind of special start Darvish is off to this season:
Here’s the thing: As far back as online statistical databases go (and that’s 1916), nobody – nobody – has ever had a start like this. He is the first pitcher to record three such starts in the team’s first 22 games. One guy did it in his team’s first 25 games. His name is Nolan Ryan.
There you go, Darvish is off to a special start and a big reason has been Pierzynski, the veteran catcher who came with a lot of baggage this winter. You see, Pierzynski has long been known as one of the most surly, unliked players in the game, sometimes by even his own teammates.
Darvish had heard those rumors and said he's seen nothing but the contrary in his brief time working with the veteran catcher.
“I heard a lot about A.J. and from what I heard, he didn’t have a very good reputation,” Darvish told the Morning News through an interpreter. “But, in my mind, now that I’ve gotten a chance to work with him, he’s a very good person, a very good catcher and a very mature player. He treats me like an adult, but almost like a parent would treat an adult child. It’s a very good thing.”