Pierzynski to catch vs. Twins

Pierzynski to catch vs. Twins
March 1, 2014, 11:15 am
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Saturday officially marks the first game in a Red Sox uniform for A.J. Pierzynski, who is scheduled to catch Allen Webster -- and others -- as the Sox face the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium.

His indoctrination to the Red Sox pitching staff actually began several weeks ago when he reported to camp and began catching bullpens and side sessions for Red Sox pitchers.

But Saturday is his first game action, with a chance to get familiar with the staff he will catch this season.

"We've all seen him many times,'' said John Farrell, "but this is the first step to handling the guys he's going to be dealing with. I think first game activity for A.J. will start that transition to us in earnest.''

Farrell has watched Pierzysnki begin to assimilate with the club, growing in comfort on a daily basis.

"Just hearing him talk around the cage and around the clubhouse," said Farrell, "he's not trying to be somebody other than who he is. He's fit in well so far. Really, we didn't anticipate anything different than that."
     
Pierzynski has caught all but one of his 16 seasons in the American League and is already familiar with many of the team's pitchers and position players.

But he'll need time to truly build a rapport with the pitchers and there are no shortcuts there.

"He's got to get to know them,'' said Farrell. "He's got to get to know what their strengths and physical limitations are and then to begin those conversations, in-between innings, where you recognize what's working and what might not be and having that pitcher see what he's seeing. He's the pitcher's eyes from the position he plays and how the hitters are reacting and to sell that pitcher on an adjustment inside of a given game.

"That's all about getting the most out of a given pitcher on a given night. You can't just fast forward it. You have to spend time with the individuals and spend time getting to know what buttons to push. There's going to be things that just need to go through the cycle and have repetition to it. You just can't automatically build a rapport with someone and have that pitcher buy in completely. It just takes time."

That starts Saturday and continues throughout the month of March.