While on the disabled list A.J. Pierzynski may have lost his job to Tyler Flowers

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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.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.