Pierzynski: Talks with Sox never heated up

(MCT) — While both sides continue to say nice things about one another, it was clear after last season that A.J. Pierzynski's days with the White Sox were over, despite a career-best offensive year.

So when Pierzynski gave his first interview Wednesday as the starting catcher for the Rangers after signing a one-year, $7.75 million contract, he was left only with memories of his eight years and a World Series championship on the South Side.

"It was really one of those things that never seemed like it was going to work out," Pierzynski said of brief discussions with the Sox that never got serious. "They made some calls, but it never got to the point where it was, 'Hey, let's move on something.'

"Am I disappointed? Anytime you've been eight years in a place, you'd love to go back and I'd like to have finished my career there. But I'm looking forward to a new place and a new challenge."

At 36, Pierzynski will attempt to play in at least 125 games for the 12th straight season, although some of those could be as the designated hitter with former Cubs catcher Geovany Soto also on the roster.

"Geo will get some playing time, but A.J. will be the front-runner at catcher," said Rangers manager Ron Washington, whose team has been to the World Series two of the last three seasons.

Washington and Pierzynski had a running long-distance feud over the summer after Washington picked the Twins' Joe Mauer over Pierzynski for the All-Star team.

"As far as I was concerned, it was over with as soon as it happened," Pierzynski said Wednesday without acknowledging he was deeply disappointed. "People keep trying to make a big deal out of it, but I've known Wash for a long time and ... it's over."

Pierzynski, who won his first Silver Slugger Award after setting career highs in home runs (27) and RBIs (77), said the change of scenery could invigorate him.

"It's been a long time since I've changed teams," he said. "I'm looking forward to ... walking into the clubhouse for the first time and meeting new people. It definitely puts a pep in your step and changes things. It's going to be fun."

Pierzynski rather enjoys his status as baseball's "bad boy," a reputation that preceded him to Chicago and now to Texas. So of course the question came up during his conference call Wednesday with Dallas-area media.

"The only thing (Rangers fans) need know about me as a person is I want to win," he said. "I go out there to play every day to try to win. ... Whatever has been said or written, you can't make people change what they say or have done. All I can do is play as hard as I can.

"Of course, I'm tired of it. We should be here talking about the Texas Rangers' upcoming season, and we're still going back to it. It's something that's there. There's nothing I can do about it."