NEW YORK - The rooks just keep on coming.
Left-hander Leyson Septimo's arrival from AAA Charlotte on Thursday brought the number of rookie pitchers on the White Sox to six, which is half the pitching staff.
While that much inexperience puts a lot on A.J. Pierzynski's plate, it has made catching as enjoyable as it's ever been for the 35-year-old veteran.
"Having these young guys around has re-energized me and given me a different perspective of what it was like as a young guy learning and seeing all these things for the first time,'' Pierzynski said.
Dylan Axelrod was the kid under Pierzynski's care on Thursday night, starting the first of a four-game series at Yankee Stadium. The lights of New York were shone bright, with both teams in first place in their respective divisions, and Axelrod more than held his own, giving up two runs over seven innings in the Sox' 4-3 come-from-behind victory highlighted by Dayan Viciedo's three-run homer in the ninth inning.
Rookie Hector Santiago got the win and rookie closer Addison Reed the save, his 11th.
On Friday night, rookie Jose Quintana will start for the White Sox. When needed, rookies Reed, Santiago, Nate Jones, and now Septimo are available in the bullpen.
Axelrod, who was pitching for the Windy City Thunderbolts three years ago, has been pressed into big-league starting service because of John Danks' shoulder injury. He was composed as could be, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the fourth before allowing RBI doubles to Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano in the fifth, an inning that started with Curtis Granderson's two-out single.
Then he finished up with two clean innings.
"We are just trying to find guys that are pitchers,'' manager Robin Ventura said. "I don't care if they are young, old whatever. If we have issues with guys getting hurt, these are the guys we have. We'll have to figure out a way to get through it and wait for these guys to get back.''
Pierzynski said he considers Chris Sale a rookie, too, this being his first season as a starter.
"It makes my job fun,'' Pierzynski said. "The experience is new to these guys and everything is a new challenge. We're in it together.''
Pierzynski was so upset after failing to help Axelrod with his bat when he lined out to center field with the slow-footed Paul Konerko on third with no outs in the fourth that he slammed his helmet not once but twice in the dugout tunnel. Konerko didn't attempt to score, and was stranded when Alex Rios was doubled off first on Dayan Viciedo's liner to second baseman Robinson Cano.
Pierzynski had better luck in the ninth, tapping a potential double-play roller to lefty Clay Rapada, whose throw toward second sailed into center field. Viciedo then homered to left against David Robertson to make it 4-3 Sox.
The Sox led 1-0 in the fifth on Alejandro De Aza's home run to right. De Aza had four hits but was thrown out stealing in the first and stranded at second in the eighth when Yankees starter Ivan Nova struck out Kevin Youkilis and Cody Eppley struck out Paul Konerko.
The Yankees tacked on a run against Santiago in the eighth. After striking out Alex Rodriguez and Cano, Mark Teixeira homered to left. Pierzynski set up inside but Santiago left the pitch out over the plate.
Pitcher and catcher had a brief chat after the homer.
"One thing that gets misconstrued sometimes is that I get mad when pitchers shake me off,'' Pierzynski said. "But if they have an idea of what they're supposed to do and have a plan then I have no problem with it.
"If they shake me off and I go to the mound, 'hey what are you thinking here,' I say hey let's do it. Make a good pitch and we'll get him out. It's all part of the game and learning process.
"They've all been great. Quintana, Jones, Hector, Reeder. You can't expect more. They've given us innings, haven't complained about being hurt, all pitched in big situations and handled it.''