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.
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.
Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.
The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.