Texas manager: A.J. Pierzynski will start

A.J. Pierzynski will be the Texas Rangers' starting catcher in 2013, manager Ron Washington announced during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. Geovany Soto is the club's backup catcher.

"A.J. is signing on as our guy," Washington said. "Geo, he will get some playing time. But A.J. will be the front-runner."

Pierzynski has started at least 112 games at catcher in every season since 2002 and has started in at least 121 games in seven of those seasons. He started in 121 games in 2012, batting .278 with 27 homers and 77 RBIs in 479 at-bats. Pierzynski turns 36 on Sunday, but said he feels good and is ready for another full season.

Physically, I feel awesome," Pierzynski said. "Mentally, I'm as good as I’ve ever been. I always joke that I’ve got to thank my mom and dad because they gave me good genes, as far as health goes. I approach every year the same. I’d love to catch 162, but it’s not going to happen. I’ll be ready to play whenever I'm needed as long as I’m physically able to."

Pierzynski said he enjoys the heat and is not concerned with how that might impact him. He said he's learned the importance of staying hydrated and growing up in Florida gave him an appreciation for the heat and how to play in it.