A.J. Pierzynski gives Addison Reed the stink eye after he was hit by a pitch. AP PHOTO
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Leave it to A.J. Pierzynski to find himself in a minor dust-up with his former team, even when he wasn't an instigator.
The Texas Rangers catcher was hit on the elbow pad by a pitch from Sox closer Addison Reed in the ninth inning of the Sox' 5-2 victory on Wednesday night. Pierzynski seemed to slightly move his elbow in the path of the pitch to get on base, then reacted angrily. Perhaps it was another case of A.J. being A.J. the agitator always looking for a competitive edge. There is a third game of the series Thursday night, and Pierzynski plans on starting after being out with a tender oblique the first two games.
"You never want to get hit by a pitch,'' Pierzynski said of his reaction to getting hit. "I was trying to come back and win a game. When you get hit by a pitch you're not happy about it. Paul [Konerko] basically said he didn't think it was anything on purpose and I expect nothing less.''
Pierzynski batted with two outs, so getting hit in that situation didn't loom large until Ian Kinsler singled after him, bringing the tying run to the plate. Reed struck out Elvis Andrus to end the game.
Pierzynski angrily flipped his bat away and yelled at Reed as he trotted to first base, then glared at him while he stood by former teammate Konerko, the Sox first baseman.
Told that the Sox insisted there was no intent, Pierzynski said, "What am i supposed to believe? You know? What else? It's not the way you're supposed to play the game and it's fine. It's over.''
Pierzynski seemed to think there was more to it. Perhaps it was the heat of the moment, and the emotion of playing against his former team, for whom he helped win a World Series in 2005.
Reed was asked point blank if there was any intent to send a message to Pierzynski, who was allowed to walk in free agency during the off-season after eight years in Chicago.
"Absolutely not,'' he said. "I was trying to go in and went a little too far in. It's over with and we got out of here with a win. That's all that matters. I didn't really watch the replay but I was trying to go in and it happened to hit him.''
"You're not trying to put anybody on,'' manager Robin Ventura said. "I mean, you're not trying to send a message or anything like that. You don't want anyone on base because in about 30 seconds they had the tying run on base. There was no message being sent.
"Any time somebody gets hit they're not happy about it. I understand that.''
Said Sox catcher Tyler Flowers: "It's tough. You have to throw (Pierzynski) in. You have to show him in. I wanted it elevated and in. I didn't really want it that elevated or that far in. But it happens.''
Konerko said he was certain it was not intentional and was glad Pierzynski wasn't injured.
"I didn't expect that,'' Konerko said. "He gave me some good material down at first base. He gave me some laughs but I can't repeat any of it.''
"You know, it just, it gives you guys [media] something to kind of look at or try to make a story out of when really I don't think there was anything to that. It could have happened to anyone. It just happened to happen to AJ.''