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updated: 3/16/2013 10:41 PM

White Sox have their share of leaders

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  • White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy maintains a positive attitude and also leads by example.

      White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy maintains a positive attitude and also leads by example.
    Associated Press

 
 

The White Sox are going to miss A.J. Pierzynski's left-handed bat, which produced a career-high 27 home runs and 77 RBI last season.

They are going to miss his baseball IQ, which has been off the charts since he broke into the majors with the Minnesota Twins in 1999.

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They are going to miss his durability and grit.

But now that Pierzynski has moved on to the Texas Rangers, are they going to miss his leadership?

That was a hot topic before the Sox headed for spring training, and the general consensus was yes.

"Losing A.J., he's an all-star caliber player; he's elite," starting pitcher Chris Sale said. "He's one of the best, and he's done it for a long time. I was very fortunate to be able to, at such an early stage of my career, to link up with a backstop like him."

Sale's locker stall was next to Pierzynski's in the White Sox' home clubhouse last year, and the veteran catcher always was giving tips to the young ace.

But the Sox aren't fretting too much about the leadership void created by Pierzynski's exit. They still have 37-year-old captain Paul Konerko, who has long been the club's guiding light.

The White Sox also have established veterans such as Jake Peavy and Adam Dunn, and they both know how to lead and keep things loose.

"On the field or in the clubhouse, I try to be always positive and have my teammates' backs in everything I do," Peavy said. "I think everybody in the clubhouse kind of takes on their own personality. Some are louder and more flamboyant; some maybe lead a lot by example."

Peavy tilts heavily to the flamboyant side, especially when he's on the mound.

"There's no doubt, I think you need a certain amount of energy guys," Peavy said. "I think it takes a nice mesh of everything, a sample platter, everybody kind of coming together and creating a certain mojo.

"There are some energy guys. If you're calling me one, I'll take it and we can go with that. I play with a lot of emotion, a lot of passion. I tell people a lot of times I think I care a little too much."

Dunn and Alejandro De Aza are the only left-handed bats in the White Sox' regular lineup, although newcomer Conor Gillaspie has been making a strong push at third base since arriving in a Feb. 22 trade with the San Francisco Giants.

With so many strong right-handed starting pitchers in the AL Central, there is no question the Sox are going to miss Pierzynski's offensive presence.

"Obviously, losing A.J. is going to be felt," Peavy said. "The biggest thing I think, baseball-wise, is we're losing a very, very good left-handed bat that obviously hasn't been replaced. Left-handers create more of a problem for right-handers, there's not any other way around it.

"Looking at that and only having De Aza and Dunn really as your left-handed guys and stacking seven right-handers, that hurts. In a baseball sense, that's going to be the biggest thing we miss, the left-handed bat."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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