For most of A.J. Pierzynski’s career we’ve heard some version of “opponents hate him, but teammates love him” applied to his ability to ruffle feathers on the field.
Last night, after spending eight seasons as the White Sox’s starting catcher, Pierzynski faced the White Sox as a member of the Rangers. He came off the bench as a pinch-hitter against his former battery-mate, closer Addison Reed, who promptly plunked Pierzynski in the shoulder.
Considering the game situation–ninth inning, 5-2 game–it seems far-fetched that Reed would hit Pierzynski on purpose–look how happy they were together in that picture!–which would merely make it an amusing coincidence.
Here’s what Pierzynski told the CSNChicago.com cameras afterward:
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.