A.J. Pierzynski catching Yu Darvish against old team

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski says don't believe the hype when he faces his former Chicago White Sox teammates today in a Cactus League game.

"I'm sure it will be different when I go into Chicago," Pierzynski said, "but this is just a spring training game."

Pierzynski was brought in to replace Mike Napoli, who left to join the Red Sox this offseason as a free agent. Pierzynski spent the last eight seasons with the White Sox but says the transition to the Rangers has gone well.

"There is always a difference when you go into a new clubhouse and learn new guys, but I can't ask for anything more from them," said Pierzynski, who is playing for his fourth team as he enters his 16th MLB season. "They have been very welcoming, and I am thankful for that."

Today's start will also give Pierzynski his first opportunity to catch Yu Darvish in a live game. The Rangers' ace is making his spring debut Tuesday.

"He has to understand what his stuff is and what it does -- how they (his pitches) move, and what his best pitches are," manager Ron Washington said.

That knife cuts both ways though, as today's pairing also provides Darvish with an opportunity to become familiar with Pierzynski's catching style and how he calls a game.

More notes:

* Each spring, Washington schedules one comprehensive base running session where the fundamentals are stressed about all aspects of what to do and expect while on the base paths. Class was in session Tuesday morning, as all position players took to the practice field with third-base coach Gary Pettis, who was known as a strong baserunner during his 14-year MLB career.

"The message is always the same in these types of comprehensive talks on the base paths," Washington said, "what you should be doing out of the box, how you should be making your turn at first base, what you should look for when the ball is in play, going from first to third ..."

Washington said he wants to re-establish an aggressive running game this season, which is a philosophy he has believed in since serving as a third-base coach for 10 years with Oakland and as a player.

* As expected, a contingent of Japanese media was on hand to see Darvish make his Cactus League debut. The group was considerably smaller than last season when he was entering his first year in the majors.

* Today marks the first game of a home-and-home series against the White Sox, and first of three Cactus League meetings overall.

* Texas has led after just two of the 81 spring innings the team has played in 2013.

* Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Angels join the Rangers as the only winless teams in the majors this spring.