Robin Ventura wants A.J. Pierzynski batting second? Seriously?

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Prepare for the White Sox offense to be a mess again.

New manager Robin Ventura said Saturday that he wants A.J. Pierzynski hitting second after Alejandro De Aza this season.

“He handles the bat great,” Ventura said. “He’s always a tough out. Not that he steals a lot of bases, but he handles the bat and does the appropriate things. He’s one of those guys who will hook it if you have to or put it the other way if they shift on him.”

Despite the fact that he practically never walks, Pierzynski has usually been a pretty good hitter. Even as a 34-year-old last season, he hit .287/.323/.405 in 464 at-bats. It’s also sort of admirable to see Ventura completely dismiss the speed component as a qualification for batting second.

What Ventura is completely overlooking here, though, is Pierzynski’s tendency to ground into double plays. Only eight major leaguers with 3,000 career plate appearances have grounded into double plays at a higher frequency than Pierzynski and most of them have gotten to hit with more men on base. For all of his great “bat handling,” Pierzynski has killed a whole bunch of rallies in his career.

And as it turns out, Ventura thinks Pierzynski hitting second is so important to the White Sox that he’s going to let it dictate who bats third.

“Once you put A.J. second, you don’t want to follow with Paulie (Konerko) and Adam (Dunn),” Ventura said. “Get somebody in there who can outrun them.”

Alex Rios, come on down!

Michael Fulmer underwent surgery on his right knee

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MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports that Tigers starter Michael Fulmer underwent successful surgery to repair the meniscus in his right knee. The Tigers expect Fulmer to be ready for spring training next year.

Fulmer, 25, threw just five pitches in his start against the Indians on Friday before being removed with what at the time was called right knee inflammation. The right-hander ends 2018 with a 3-12 record, a 4.69 ERA, and a 110/46 K/BB ratio in 132 1/3 innings.

Fulmer will enter his first of four years of arbitration eligibility after the season. The Tigers likely would have considered trading him during the offseason but his poor season and knee woes will keep him in Detroit for the time being.