By Bruce Levine–
ORLANDO, Fla. (670 The Score) — Former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski is back with the organization.
The team reached out to him this offseason, and he has returned to be a goodwill ambassador for the franchise that he played for from 2005-’12 and helped win a World Series ring in 2005.
“Chicago is a special place for me,” Pierzynski said Monday at the Winter Meetings. “This is the place where they remember me as a White Sox player. People don’t remember a lot of the other places, so when you are asked to come back, it is hard to say no.”
Pierzynski ended his big league career after the 2016 season after being a durable fixture for seven teams in a 19-year career. He worked a broadcast job for Fox Sports last season.
“As long as Fox wants me back, I will broadcast next season,” Pierzynski said. “I enjoyed working the playoffs and got to hang around and meet some great people. I learned why I always hated the media. Now I am part of them. So that is all great.
“The playoff games I did for Fox kept me around and engaged in the game.”
The irascible Pierzynski was well-respected as a player for his smart, aggressive play and nearly universally disliked for less-than-pleasing personality. He hit .280 with 188 homers in his big league career.
Now, he will fill a small role with the White Sox while keeping his eyes on the future as well. Pierzynski would like to manage in the big leagues if his family signs off on the time away from home.
“Yes, I would,” Pierzynski said. “If it came up and it was the right situation, how could you say no?”
Pierzynski isn’t deterred by his lack of managerial and coaching experience to date.
“Didn’t a team called the Yankees do that? They did it,” Pierzynski said in reference to New York’s recent managerial hiring of former player and broadcaster Aaron Boone. “Bob Brenly (in Arizona) did it and won a World Series. I think (Cardinals manager Mike) Matheny did it out of nowhere and Robin Ventura did it (with the White Sox). There are people who have done it.”
Pierzynski took time for shoutouts to White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and broadcast Hawk Harrelson, the latter of whom he believes should be the broadcasting Hall of Fame. As for his relationship with Reinsdorf, Pierzynski was highly complimentary.
“Jerry has always gone out of his way to make me feel welcome with the White Sox,” he said. “Whenever I am in Chicago or he is here in Orlando, we try to get together. We talk, chat and text. He has always been very gracious to me. I respect the hell out of him, and I love him.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.