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.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.