A.J. Pierzynski had started 28 of 32 games behind the plate for the White Sox when he fractured his wrist on August 12, but it sounds like he’ll be a part-time player once he returns from the disabled list.
Tyler Flowers has impressed while filling in for Pierzynski and manager Ozzie Guillen told Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago that the 25-year-old rookie will continue to play regularly down the stretch regardless of Pierzynski’s health status:
Tyler has been great; very good. When A.J. gets here, we figure out how we play him. I don’t want to say A.J. is not playing, but we really like, I really like, the way Tyler is behind the plate right now.
They’d form a natural platoon because Flowers bats right-handed and Pierzynski bats left-handed, but it certainly seems as though Guillen intends to play Flowers more often than that role would allow. And while Flowers is atop the White Sox’s long-term catching depth chart, the fact that the 34-year-old Pierzynski is signed for next season at $6 million complicates the situation as well.
Pierzynski is currently rehabbing in the minors and could rejoin the White Sox as soon as this weekend.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.