Game 100 a landmark for Rangers’ A.J. Pierzynski

Posted Tuesday, Sep. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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A.J. Pierzynski made it clear Tuesday that he doesn’t want to diminish the physical demands of other positions, but he also knows better than any active catcher how difficult it is to catch 100 games year after year.

“It takes a special person to want to get back there,” he said.

Special, in this case, could very well mean crazy. It also means tough, physically and mentally, and once people get past his reputation as one of the most disliked players in the game, Pierzynski will be remembered as one of the most durable catchers of all time.

He started his 100th game Tuesday to become only the fourth catcher in baseball history with 13 consecutive seasons with 100 games caught. He wants to go for No. 14 in 2014.

“Where am I going to play?” said Pierzynski, a free agent after the season. “As far as I’m concerned, I want to play. … It would be nice if it was Texas.”

Pierzynski joined Johnny Bench, Bill Dickey and Brad Ausmus in the exclusive catching fraternity. Ivan Rodriguez has the most 100-game seasons at catcher, with 17, but he was derailed by injury in 1994 and 2000.

Pierzynski said that luck is responsible for much of the streak. He has managed to avoid any number of possible injuries behind the plate, though he suffered a broken wrist in 2011 when hit by a pitch and was sidelined earlier this season with a strained oblique.

He has also played for competitive teams who couldn’t afford to give a young prospect a chance, and for managers who wanted him in the lineup.

“I thank my parents all the time. They gave me good genes,” Pierzynski said. “To still be doing it and still be healthy and able to go out there is really something special and a blessing. You can never count on it, especially as a catcher.”

Andrus sits again

Elvis Andrus was out of the lineup for a fourth straight game and could very well sit out Wednesday in the finale against Oakland as he continues to recover from stiffness in his lower back.

He gave his back an extensive test, hitting in the cages and running in the outfield without much trouble, but the shortstop said that he is still having difficulty bending over to field ground balls.

Andrus wants to give designated hitter a try Wednesday, but manager Ron Washington wants Andrus to be able to play defensively before putting him back in the lineup.

“I want Elvis total,” Washington said. “I’m not just going to play him to play him. I want him on the field.”

Andrus admitted that he’s only 60 percent, though he ran at 80 percent. Sitting out, especially against the Rangers’ main competition in the American League West, is agonizing, and he’s trying to get back as quickly as possible.

“I don’t even want to watch the games,” he said. “Believe me, I’m trying to go as fast as I can. But I want to go out there healthy.”

Briefly

• Right-hander Alexi Ogando was activated from the 15-day disabled list and is available to pitch out of the bullpen. He had a good bullpen session Monday, and with no place to send him to rehab as a starter, the Rangers decided to get him in games as soon as possible. He will be available beginning Wednesday.

• Right-hander Ross Wolf and outfielders Joey Butler and Engel Beltre arrived from Triple A Round Rock and were available Tuesday night. Outfielder Joe Benson, who was designated for assignment Monday, cleared waivers and was assigned to Round Rock.

• Joey Gallo, the Rangers’ power-hitting third base prospect, received the Joe Bauman Award for leading the minor leagues in home runs. The 19-year-old hit 40 — 38 for Class A Hickory and two for the Arizona Rangers — and will be honored at the winter meetings.

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

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