<
>

Pierzynski returns to Chicago

CHICAGO -- A.J. Pierzynski returned to the city he called home for eight seasons Tuesday evening, but with a new team. After leaving the Chicago White Sox as a free agent, the catcher signed a one-year, $7.5 million deal with the Texas Rangers. Coming back to play the Chicago Cubs has a little less meaning, according to the feisty competitor.

"That series -- the Cubs and Sox is special,” he said before Tuesday's game. “For that, the city turns it up a notch. Everyone here is either a Cub or Sox fan. You are on one side or another, you can’t walk down the middle. It was always fun to come here, it was always fun to play on the other side of town. It was a special series.”

Pierzynski had some big games against the Cubs in the past. That included a game-winning home run off of Ryan Dempster and a fistfight with Cubs catcher Michael Barrett after a home-plate collision.

“It was always very special when you were on the White Sox side coming here," he said. “That was especially true when I first got here because the Cubs were really good. When both of us were really good, it was really fun to play these games. Everyone expected something special to happen, and most of the time it involved something that I had to do. People were just waiting for something to happen.”

The Cubs fans always seemed to save their loudest jeers for Pierzynski when he played for the crosstown Sox. “It was always great and always very fun,” he said. “The fans here have always been great to me. Yeah, they boo, they yell and stuff, but they never cross the line here. They were always very cordial and fun. I expect nothing less.”