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posted: 4/26/2010 12:01 AM

Pierzynski can't seem to get out of offensive funk

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If A.J. Pierzynski doesn't start hitting soon, he's going to run out of bats.

The White Sox' slumping catcher has been breaking his lumber with increasing regularity as he continues a miserable season.

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Pierzynski was 0-for-4 Sunday, he's in a 1-for-26 slump, and his batting average has plunged to .140.

The usually amiable Pierzynski didn't feel like talking about his extended cold spell.

"Just not getting any hits," Pierzynski said when asked if anything in particular is wrong with his swing. "That's it."

Pierzynski, who last season became the first Sox catcher in history to bat .300, obviously is frustrated. And popping out on the first pitch with one out and runners on second and third - like he did in Sunday's narrow win over the Mariners - is only making matters worse.

"All I'll say is A.J. is a really good offensive player," said White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker. "The back of his baseball card has some really good numbers on it. When he finds himself mentally at peace or a warm fuzzy feeling or whatever, he's going to get a bunch of hits. But right now he's just fighting the game, and when you fight the game you don't get good results.

"He's frustrated. He's an emotional guy that when he's frustrated - he's a bad-ball hitter when he's going good. When he's going bad, the fact that he swings at a lot of bad pitches does not help out.

"And when you lose confidence, you miss the pitches you should hit. He's frustrated, but he'll fight his way through it and he'll be fine. He's my friend, and I hope it happens sooner rather that later for him."

The real Rios: Alex Rios is seemingly as mellow as they come in the major leagues, but his White Sox teammates discovered a different side of the outfielder Sunday morning.

ESPN's Tim Kurkjian said former Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi told him how Rios destroyed "17 batting helmets with his bare hands in one season" with Toronto.

When he saw Rios in the Sox' clubhouse, Juan Pierre mockingly asked his teammate how he broke helmets with his hands.

"I'm a strong (bleep)," Rios said with a laugh.

Lucky 13? The White Sox are carrying 12 pitchers, which is status quo under manager Ozzie Guillen.

But with starters Freddy Garcia, Gavin Floyd, and even Mark Buehrle and Jake Peavy making some early exits over the first month of the season, Sox relief pitchers logged 572/3 innings heading into Sunday, the fourth-highest workload in the American League.

The White Sox haven't been using reserve infielder Jayson Nix much, but he is out of options and might be claimed by another team if sent back to the minor leagues to clear another bullpen spot.

For now, look for the Sox to stay with 12 pitchers.

"Every day is different," Guillen said. "Some guys give me 4 innings and the next guy gives me 8. Hopefully everyone out there gives me 6-plus. We expect them to do that and the bullpen will be back on time. We have to be very, very careful. But right now we are fine."

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