A.J. Pierzynski has been out of the Texas Rangers' starting lineup the past two nights with a sore right oblique muscle. It hasn’t been an ideal situation for the Rangers catcher, as he has expressed a desire to face his former team, the Chicago White Sox.
Pierzynski got the chance Wednesday night, when he pinch-hit for Craig Gentry with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. The White Sox were leading 5-2 at the time with closer Addison Reed on the mound.
Reed threw a first-pitch fastball for a called strike, and then came inside with another fastball that hit Pierzynski’s right elbow guard. Pierzynski said he raised his elbow into the pitch to make sure it didn’t it his face.
Pierzynski was visibly upset by the incident, but downplayed any sort of malice afterwards.
“I’m sure he was trying to pitch me in and it got away,” Pierzynski said. “[My elbow] is fine. I’ve been hit a lot harder before.
“They’re going to say there were two outs and a three-run lead in the ninth, why would they hit somebody?”
That’s similar to what Reed told reporters after the game, saying the hit by pitch was not intentional and he has no issues with Pierzynski. Both were teammates on the White Sox in 2011-12.
Asked about their relationship, Pierzynski said: “I saw him in spring training and always got along fine. I don’t know. You’ll have to ask him. I’m sure he was just trying to pitch me inside and it got away.”
Pierzynski is hopeful that he will be ready to start Thursday’s finale.
-- Drew Davison