SURPRISE, Ariz. - With a familiar No. 12 stitched to an unfamiliar blue Texas Rangers jersey hanging at his locker, A.J. Pierzynski described his first day on his new job as "bittersweet.''
After eight years with the White Sox, including a World Series championship in 2005, Pierzynski had hoped to stay for at least a couple more. But the White Sox were fixed on letting him walk in free agency and giving the No. 1 catcher's job to a younger Tyler Flowers.
"I can't be disappointed. There's no reason to be disappointed,'' Pierzynski said. "I know it's a business and it wasn't meant to be. I'm excited about the new opportunity here and the chance to come to a team that definitely has a team to be very competitive with a goal of going to the playoffs and I'm looking forward to that, not looking back at what happened.''
Pierzynski, 36, has dabbled in broadcasting and would seem to have a future in it after his playing days are over, perhaps with the Sox.
"We'll see. It takes two to want to do that,'' he said. "I know they had different plans this winter and we'll see what happens in the future. After winning a World Series there and having the years I had there, especially the way the fans treated me and people of Chicago in general, it's a special place and every time I go back there I'll look forward to it. But as far as that goes, I'm a Ranger now and I can't wait.''
Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who has always regarded Pierzynski as one of his favorite players, released a praise-filled statement after Texas signed Pierzynski for one year. That was much appreciated.
"Of course. I'll always appreciate what Jerry did for me and will always have a special place in my heart,'' Pierzynski said. "It was nice but it's over.
"Obviously when I signed here it was bittersweet because I had been someplace for a long time but knowing Texas wanted me from day one, that was nice. When you walk into a new clubhouse, it's a big step and a big difference. But it's nice to look up and see a couple people I know - Neal Cotts and Jason Frasor and some other familiar faces. It helps a little but it's always a little awkward walking into a place after you've been someplace for so long. You kind of get lost trying to figure out where everything is but that's part of it. I'll learn fast and go from there.''
Asked if he believes Flowers is prepared to handle whatever pressure may come with the job and replacing a fan favorite, Pierzynski said, "You'll have to ask him. I don't know anything. I wish him nothing but the best. I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about Texas and myself. I'm not worried about what goes on over there.
"He's a good kid. Has a chance to hit some homers. He'll be fine. It's his job to go in there and win the job and be the No. 1 guy on opening day. If he does what he's capable of doing he'll be fine.''