A.J. Pierzynski was back in the starting lineup in Friday's 7-3 win over Seattle, as the veteran catcher continues to make sure that if this is indeed his final season with the White Sox, he leaves an imprint.
Pierzynski entered the game hitting .400 and leading the team with four homers and 13 RBI, before the 0-for-3 against the M's. Even more impressive, he had thrown out two-of-three runners attempting to steal a base this year. But he is also a free agent at the end of this season, and with the Sox possibly looking to slowly be rebuilding, as well as cutting salary, there is very little he may have control of, no matter how good the numbers are.
"Mentally I'm in a better spot," Pierzynski told the Sun-Times. "Last time (two years ago) I wanted to really come back here -- not that I still don't. We had some conversations about a contract during spring training, and it didn't go very well and it put me in a bad mind-set going into the season."
A mind-set that seemed to carry into his performance on the field.
"Looking back, I wish we hadn't even talked about it," Pierzynski said. "This year, we didn't talk about it and professionally and personally I'm in a better spot. I'm trying to enjoy the year and not worry about other things."
Pierzynski was close to leaving the Sox and going to Los Angeles before the 2011 season, but board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, a big fan of the catcher, gave general manager Ken Williams the nod to sign Pierzynski to a two-year, $8 million contract that pays $6 million this year.
"I don't know the answer to that question," Pierzynski said, when asked if this could be it. "I obviously want to come back here and finish my career here, but at the same time, the team has to want you back, too. I feel like if it happens that would be great. That's what I would want. But at the same time, I understand if it doesn't work out, then I had a great time here.
"Will I miss it? Of course, but hopefully there will be another team that thinks I can play."
With Tyler Flowers considered the catcher of the future, it looks like unless the Sox make a serious playoff run, Pierzynski will be moving on.
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