A.J. Pierzynski speaks about his reputation as a clubhouse cancer and overall jerkface

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A.J. Pierzynski has a reputation as a clubhouse cancer. That’s not just some broad opinion. One of his teammates on the San Francisco Giants actually called him a cancer back in 2004.  Apart from that, he’s always at the top of “most hated” lists and stuff. But Pierzynski wants to set the record straight:

“Basically one guy came out and said that.”

I brought up Brett Tomko, the Giants pitcher who has long been associated with throwing Pierzynski under the bus.

“Well, he says he didn’t,” Pierzynski said. “But I know Matt Herges, he said some things, some other guys said some things…you know, they have their right, and one of the things I was accused of was getting the other team signs. Anyone that knows me, I would never in a million years give the other team, tell the other team what’s coming.

Well, the sign thing is just a narrow part of it. Pierzynski has a longstanding reputation, even among guys who sorta like him, that he’s kind of a jerk. Oh well. At least he tends to own it. He’s not under any delusions that he’s loved.

I think the most interesting part of the story is that Hawk Harrelson basically lobbied Kenny Williams to sign Pierzynski. So you have him to thank or blame, depending on your point of view.

Robinson Canó benched for lack of hustle

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Mets second baseman Robinson Canó is not in the lineup for Monday’s series opener against the division rival Nationals. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, it’s punishment for failing to run hard on a pair of double plays over the weekend against the Marlins.

Manager Mickey Callaway said, “He understands that it’s unacceptable to not run balls out. He understands that he needs to do that at all times.”

Canó first gaffe came in the top of the seventh inning on Friday, with his team trailing 7-3. Facing Adam Conley, Canó hit a grounder back to the pitcher, who turned a 1-6-3 double play. Canó was only halfway up the first base line when the throw got to first base.

In the fourth inning on Sunday, with the game still scoreless, Canó tapped a Sandy Alcantara pitch in the dirt. Thinking it was foul, Canó didn’t run, but catcher Chad Wallach charged and grabbed the ball while it was still in fair territory. He threw to second base for the force out and then the ball was easily whipped to first base to complete the double play as Canó still thought it was foul.

This likely wouldn’t be as big a deal as it currently is if Canó were actually producing at the plate and if the Mets weren’t in a freefall. Canó has a .245/.293/.374 batting line on the season. Meanwhile, the Mets are 20-25 and riding a five-game losing streak which includes having been shut out in each of their last two games.