Rangers notes: A.J. Pierzynski receives warm welcome back

Posted Friday, Aug. 23, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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A.J. Pierzynski received a friendly heads up from former Chicago White Sox teammate Mark Buehrle upon making his first trip back to U.S. Cellular Field: Turn right.

Buerhle, now with Toronto, took a turn toward the home clubhouse in June as he returned to his longtime ballpark. Pierzynski went straight to the visitors’ clubhouse on Friday as the Texas Rangers opened a three-game series against the White Sox.

“I was making sure I didn’t make the same mistake,” Pierzynski said.

Pierzynski was also warned by Buerhle that it would be an emotional weekend, and Pierzynski spoke at length about the relationship he had with the White Sox, who chose not to re-sign him last winter after eight seasons.

He won a World Series in 2005, his first season, and that was featured during a pregame video tribute to him that was played before the game.

“This was home for a long time,” Pierzynski said. “The World Series is No. 1. No one can ever take that away from that group of guys.”

Alex Rios was also back at U.S. Cellular only 15 days after being traded to the Rangers. He’s batting .273 with three RBIs in 44 at-bats since the trade.

“I’ve helped a little bit, but I haven’t helped to the extent of my abilities,” Rios said. “I can bring more stuff to the table, but I’m still very positive and optimistic of getting better results.”

Neal Cotts returned, too, though he had done it previously and makes his home in the Chicago area.

Jason Frasor played briefly with the White Sox in 2011, and Matt Garza, Geovany Soto and Jeff Baker are former Cubs.

“It’s special for them to come back here, too,” Pierzynski said.

Darvish gaining steam?

August is typically the month when players have to battle through fatigue and find a second wind for the stretch run. Yu Darvish, though, claims to be an exception.

The right-hander, who starts Saturday for the Rangers, said that he starts to reach his physical peak in August. Based on the small sample size so far in his big-league career, it’s hard to argue.

He is 8-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 14 August and September starts, including 3-0 with a 2.15 ERA in four starts this month.

“Even in Japan, I had many seasons where I was just getting warmed up in August and I was feeling really well toward the end,” Darvish said. “Physically and mentally, I feel fine.”

But he balked when asked if the best was yet to come this season.

“Ask me that again at the end of this month,” Darvish said.

Garza trade finished

Double A right-hander Neil Ramirez was shipped to the Cubs to complete the trade for pitcher Matt Garza, who was dealt to the Rangers on July 22. Third baseman Mike Olt and righties Justin Grimm and C.J. Edwards were also in the package.

Ramirez, 24, went 9-3 with a 3.84 ERA for Frisco this season but has never panned out since being selected 44th overall in the 2007 draft. Ramirez will be out of contract options next season.

Briefly

• Adam Rosales made his first start since joining the Rangers, as their designated hitter and batting ninth. He had only two at-bats between three waiver claims this month. “I think I’m as ready as I can be,” he said. “We’re major-league baseball players. We should be able to make adjustments pretty quickly.”

• Right-hander Neftali Feliz will pitch again for Triple A Round Rock this weekend after working a scoreless inning Thursday. He needed only nine pitches and worked at 89 to 93 mph.

• Alexi Ogando (nerve inflammation) will being playing long-toss this weekend. Manager Ron Washington said that there has been no discussion about his role when he returns. “Our concern is getting him healthy,” Washington said.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson

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