We have a story coming for tomorrow's paper on White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who is eligible for free agency at the end of the season.
A.J. wants to return, and the White Sox would be wise to re-sign the 33-year-old catcher.
Why? There are several reasons:
*In mid-August, A.J. was batting .231 and it looked like he’d be lucky to land a backup job with another team this winter.
Thanks to an impressive surge _ Pierzynski leads the American League with a .374 average since Aug. 12 _ he’s up to .271 for the season, with 8 home runs and 55 RBI.
*Pierzynski and Jason Kendall are the only major-league catchers with at least 1,000 innings behind the plate in each of the last nine seasons. Believe it or not, A.J. has never been on the disabled list since becoming the Twins’ full-time catcher in 2001.
*With A.J. behind the plate this season, White Sox pitchers have a 3.98 ERA.
*Here is what a major-league scout said about Pierzynski Tuesday _ “They’ve got to bring him back. He’s so good with that staff, and he’s still productive. (Tyler) Flowers isn’t ready, and if you don’t bring (Pierzynski) back you’ve got to go out and find somebody to replace him, and that’s not easy because there’s not much out there.”
*Flowers had decent power numbers at Class AAA Charlotte this season (16 HR, 53 RBI in 100 games), but he batted just .220.
The same scout saw Flowers play at Charlotte this season, and he criticized Flowers’ bat speed.
“Everything was this way (point to right field),” the scout said. “And he was always cheating on first-pitch fastballs. You try to do that up here (majors), you’re in huge trouble.”