The Texas Rangers are in town this weekend, but the three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field is going to have a decided White Sox flavor.
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski was a fiery leader for the Sox from 2005-12, but he wasn't offered a new contract at the end of last season and the free agent had to settle for a one-year, $7.5 million deal with the Rangers.
Scouting reportWhite Sox vs. Texas Rangers at U.S. Cellular Field
TV: WCIU today; Comcast SportsNet Saturday and Sunday
Radio: WSCR 670-AM
Pitching matchups: The Sox' Chris Sale (9-11) vs. Martin Perez (6-3) today at 7:10 p.m.; Hector Santiago (4-7) vs. Yu Darvish (12-5) Saturday at 6:10 p.m.; John Danks (3-10) vs. Matt Garza (3-1) Sunday at 1:10 p.m.
At a glance: The Sox swept a two-game series at Texas in early May. Saturday is major-league baseball's annual Civil Rights Game. The Rangers (74-53) are running first in the AL West and have won eight in a row on the road. In 100 games with Texas, A.J. Pierzynski is batting .279 with 14 home runs and 52 RBI.
Next: Houston Astros, Monday-Wednesday, at U.S. Cellular Field
-- Scot Gregor
Pierzynski is expected to be honored with a video tribute Friday night, but his homecoming is a mixture of emotions.
"I will be glad to get it over with, especially Friday," Pierzynski told Texas reporters. "But I'm looking forward to it and seeing some people. I still have a lot of friends over there, guys who I will be friends with for life. It will be weird going into the visitors' clubhouse, but I'm looking forward to going to the city. I love the city, I love the organization and I love the fans."
Right fielder Alex Rios will also be back after being traded from the White Sox to the Rangers on Aug. 9. In 11 games with Texas, Rios is batting .273 with no home runs and 3 RBI.
Relief pitcher Neal Cotts also returns to the Cell following a remarkable comeback. Along with Pierzynski, Cotts was a member of the White Sox' 2005 World Series championship team.
But elbow and hip surgeries kept the left-hander completely off the field from 2010-12. The 33-year-old Cotts is 5-2 with a 1.30 ERA in 40 appearances with the Rangers.
With Gordon Beckham still bothered by a strained right quad and Jeff Keppinger dealing with a sore back, the Sox called up infielder Leury Garcia from Class AAA Charlotte Thursday.
Garcia was the player to be named later in the trade that sent Alex Rios to Texas. The 22-year-old Garcia batted .267 in eight games with Charlotte.
The White Sox and Rangers will play in the Civil Rights Game on Saturday.
The idea to promote racial equality in baseball started in 2007 as an exhibition event and was moved to the regular season two years later, when the Sox played the Reds in Cincinnati.