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updated: 2/24/2014 7:50 PM

Pierzynski happy with decision to join defending champs

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  • A.J. Pierzynski, who hit 17 home runs with Texas last season, agreed to a one-year, $8.25 million deal with the Red Sox in the off-season.

      A.J. Pierzynski, who hit 17 home runs with Texas last season, agreed to a one-year, $8.25 million deal with the Red Sox in the off-season.
    Associated Press

 
 

A.J. Pierzynski might be gone, but he hasn't been forgotten by a sizeable chunk of White Sox fans.

General manager Rick Hahn has been drawing favorable reviews for remaking a team that lost 99 games last season, but many Sox fans are still griping about the decision to let Pierzynski exit via free agency following the 2012 season.

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Tyler Flowers was given the first crack at replacing Pierzynski as the White Sox' starting catcher last year, but his inability to hit cost him the job in early July.

His replacement, Josh Phegley, also had issues with the bat while Pierzynski hit .272 with 17 home runs and 70 RBI for the Texas Rangers last year.

Pierzynski has moved on to the Boston Red Sox, and after signing a one-year, $8.25 million contract, he is the No. 1 catcher for the defending World Series champions. Before signing with the Red Sox, the 37-year-old Pierzynski nearly returned to the Minnesota Twins, the team he broke in with in 1998.

"That wasn't as easy a decision as people think," Pierzynski told ESPNBoston.com. "There were other teams, too. It was hard just because of the relationships I have with a lot of people in Minnesota. I went back and forth on it a few times, but in the end I made the right decision coming here (Boston)."

Every time Pierzynski changes teams, he is instantly asked about being one of the most hated players in the game.

"When we're on the field, stuff happens that isn't real life," Pierzynski said. "It's our job to try to win games, and it's our job to do whatever we can to help the team win that game. It could be my best friend I could be facing, Mark Buehrle. I'm trying to beat him, and he's trying to get me out. We might go out after the game and have a beer or have some dinner, but for those three hours I'm trying to win a game. That's a different animal."

As long as he stays healthy and keeps producing, Pierzynski wants to keep playing. But at some point after he does retire, don't be surprised if Pierzynski lands a job in the White Sox' TV booth.

New challenge for Reed:

Addison Reed was the White Sox' primary closer the past two seasons, piling up 69 saves (40 in 2013).

Now, the 25-year-old reliever is trying to nail down the ninth inning job with his new team, the Diamondbacks.

In December, Reed was traded to Arizona for third baseman Matt Davidson.

Reed is competing for the closer's job with former Sox reliever J.J. Putz, David Hernandez and Brad Ziegler.

"Even if I knew that I was going to be closing in Chicago, I was still looking at it as I needed to prove myself and fight for that spot," Reed told the Arizona Republic. "I don't feel like I'm in any different situation right now."

Reed leaned heavily on his fastball during his rookie season with the White Sox, and he was able to add a slider last year.

"My slider feels almost to the point where I can throw it in any situation," Reed said. "Right now, 3-2, bases loaded, I'd feel comfortable throwing it. That's where I'm trying to get with my changeup right now. It's a work in progress."

Morel on the move, again:

Brent Morel is now with his third organization in three months.

The Blue Jays claimed the third baseman off waivers from the White Sox in December, and the Pirates claimed Morel off waivers from Toronto on Monday.

Morel was the Sox' opening-day starter in 2012, but he batted .177 and played in only 35 games before being sidelined with a lumbar back strain.

Last season, Morel played in 106 games with Class AAA Charlotte, batting .266 with 6 home runs and 54 RBI. He appeared in 12 games with the White Sox and batted .200 (5-for-25) with 1 RBI.

• Follow Scot's White Sox and baseball reports on Twitter@scotgregor.

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