Pierzynski relieved to be back with White Sox
Earlier in the day on Thursday, A.J. Pierzynski felt like his six-year run with the White Sox had come to a screeching halt.
"I really, really thought it was over," a relieved Pierzynski said a day later after signing a two-year, $8 million contract with the Sox. "It was bittersweet and sort of hard to believe, especially with all I had been through with the fans and the organization and the team.
"I'm ecstatic to be back. But in my heart of hearts, I didn't think it would work out. It's a huge relief."
Pierzynski said he was on the verge of signing a more lucrative deal with another team Thursday before picking up the phone and calling the White Sox.
Assistant general manager Rick Hahn called right back and Pierzynski said the deal was done in "10 to 15 minutes."
"The way people have treated me in Chicago, the fans, the organization, it's where I wanted to be," said the 33-year-old Pierzynski, who bounced back from a miserable start last season and batted .270 with 9 home runs and 56 RBI. "It was an easy decision."
Like new teammate Adam Dunn, Pierzynski rearranged his contract to hopefully help make room for Paul Konerko's return.
Pierzynski will make $2 million this season and $6 million in 2012.
"If it helps the team win, if it helps to get Paulie, it's really going to make me feel better," Pierzynski said. "I took less to come back. (Konerko) deserves to finish his career here. He's done tremendous things in the community, and it really would be unbelievable to take the field with the White Sox and not have Konerko on the field with me. I'll do whatever I have to do to get him back here."
There has been a flurry of activity the last two days, and that includes Friday's trade of relief pitcher Scott Linebrink to the Braves for minor-league pitcher Kyle Cofield, who was 1-3 with a 4.39 ERA in 18 games (10 starts) for Class AA Mississippi last season.
Signed to a four-year, $19 million contract prior to the 2008 season, Linebrink had an outstanding first half in his debut year but developed a sore shoulder and never regained his form.
Owed $5.5 million this season, the Sox are picking up $3.5 million of Linebrink's salary.
"It frees up some room, so it's a good deal for us," general manager Kenny Williams said.
Linebrink was 3-2 with a 4.40 ERA in 52 games for the White Sox last season.
"I wouldn't be surprised if he put up a heck of a year down there," Williams said. "It's a little bit of a mystery as to how he went in and out of effectiveness, but his stuff never left."
GM Kenny Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen were both impressed that Adam Dunn and A.J. Pierzynski were willing to take less money in 2011 so the Sox have a better shot at re-signing Paul Konerko.
"You don't see that many people do that," Guillen said. "That shows people how much they want to play for the White Sox. All those people that think they don't want to play for us, they don't want to play for me, they're wrong because they put money away for the rest of their teammates."