The clubhouse belonged to the Rangers at their Spring Training facility in Surprise.
But there was A.J. Pierzynski, the new Texas backstop via a one-year, $7.5 million free-agent deal, standing in front of his locker and talking about ... the White Sox. It stands to reason that Pierzynski would address his eight years with his previous team, during which he helped the White Sox end an 88-year championship drought in 2005 and became an organizational staple and a fan favorite.
He also made clear that there was no disappointment, per se, over leaving the White Sox, but instead excitement for getting started with the Rangers.
"I can't be disappointed. There's no reason to be disappointed. I know it's a business, and it wasn't meant to be," said Pierzynski on Tuesday morning. "I'm excited about the new opportunity here and the chance to come to a team that definitely has a team to be very competitive, with a goal of going to the playoffs. I'm looking forward to that, not looking back at what happened.
"Obviously when I signed here, it was bittersweet, because I had been someplace for a long time. But knowing Texas wanted me from Day 1, that was nice. Until you walk into a new clubhouse, it's a big step and a big difference, but it's nice to look up and see a couple people I know -– Neal Cotts and Jason Frasor and some other familiar faces.
"It helps a little, but it's always a little awkward walking into a place after you've been someplace for so long," Pierzynski said. "You kind of get lost trying to figure out where everything is, but that's part of it. I'll learn fast, and go from there."
As explained by White Sox general manager Rick Hahn during SoxFest and throughout the end of the offseason, it was tough for the White Sox to let Pierzynski go. He played an integral part in the team's 11-1 postseason run in 2005 on its way to a four-game World Series sweep of the Astros, and then posted career-best power numbers with his 27 homers and 77 RBIs in 2012.
After hitting .279 with 118 homers during his eight-year stint with the White Sox, the team decided to allocate offseason funds for Jake Peavy's two-year return and the addition of Jeff Keppinger at third base, as well as giving Tyler Flowers a full-time shot behind the plate. Pierzynski's departure was met with much angst from the White Sox fan base, but also a strong message of support from chairman Jerry Reinsdorf that ended with the following sentiment.
No regrets: Pierzynski transitions from Sox to Texas
MLB.com | Feb 12