Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Ex-Cub Soto, ex-Sox Pierzynski United in Texas

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For all the talk of Wrigley Field renovations, the first thing former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski noticed Tuesday was something from the past--the ``AC'' sign on a Sheffield rooftop noting how long the Cubs have gone without a championship.
``I'm just happy they put the sign back up in right center field. I'm not going to lie. They took it down [last year] and I was really disappointed because I always liked looking at that sign. That was my favorite sign.''
In some ways, Wrigley was a favorite ``away'' park for the longtime Sox catcher, now with the Texas Rangers and back for the first interleague series against the Cubs.
It was the longtime ``home'' park for the Rangers' other catcher, Geovany Soto, who stepped into the visitor's clubhouse for the first time Tuesday.
``It feels great seeing old faces and being here,'' he said. ``It's a pretty special place. It feels good.''
Soto's last time in Wrigley Field was an awkward goodbye, traded at last season's deadline at mid-game. Pierzynski signed with the Rangers as a free agent after the season, ending eight years with the Sox.
``We laughed about some of the things that happened [during the Cubs-Sox series]--when Ozzie [Guillen] kicked Geo's mask--but we haven't rehashed it a lot,'' Pierzynski said. ``But Geo has a lot of good memories about Wrigley and being here. He had some great years and obviously they won when he was here. He's said nothing but good things about Wrigley and the Cubs.''
Pierzynski has his own history here--hitting .303 (30-99) with five home runs and 19 RBI in 26 games at Wrigley--including a homer in his last appearance May 19.
``It was special when you were on the White Sox side, and especially when I got here the Cubs were really good. And when both of us were really good, it was really fun to play in those games.''
Pierzynski is the Rangers' main catcher, but he and Soto said they are working well together as teammates.
``He's been really good,'' Soto said of Pierzynski. ``There's a lot of communication preparing for a series. We've been sharing a lot.''
Playing behind another catcher wasn't what Soto expected, but Pierzynski--hitting .342 to start the season--said Soto is handling the situation.
``I know obviously he would like to be in a situation getting to play more, but he's been awesome,'' Pierzynski said. ``We talk about pitchers and hitters, and he has insights on guys I may have never seen, and obviously about the Cubs.''
Both are in agreement about Wrigley Field, as it is now and as it might be if renovation plans become a reality.
``I think renovations are good anywhere, but this ballpark and what it represents - a 100 year old stadium--it has a lot of tradition and history here,'' Soto said. ``You really can't substitute that. I think it's a really special place.''
Even Pierzynski defended the old park after hearing comments from teammate Lance Berkman--who suggested ``blowing it up.'
``It's a little outdated, but now they're trying to update it,'' he said. ``Once you get on the field, it's a pretty cool place to play-- yousee the fans and the rooftops. It is a special place because of the nostalgia.''
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This page contains a single entry by Toni Ginnetti published on April 16, 2013 7:56 PM.

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