Tough break for White Sox fans today. One of the most reliable catchers in baseball, A.J. Pierzynski, was placed on the DL with a fractured wrist, retroactive to August 13th. Pierzynski was injured on that date when he was hit by a pitch in the third inning against the Royals. Original X-rays came back negative, but more testing showed a break in the wrist. This will be Pierzynski’s first trip to the DL in his career.
The Sox could ill afford to lose A.J. for an extended period of time. He’s been hitting the ball quite well over the last couple of weeks. With the team just 3.5 games back of Detroit, the Sox need all hands on deck. Tyler Flowers will continue to start. Flowers has impressed in the last two games, including hitting his first major league home run Saturday night.
Since original backup catcher Ramon Castro is also on the DL, the Sox called up Donny Lucy from Triple-A Charlotte. Lucy was impressive in spring training in 2010, but couldn’t beat Castro out for the backup job. Lucy will spell Flowers and he shouldn’t end up making a lot of starts.
This could end up being huge in the development of Flowers. Flowers, who was the main piece in the Javy Vazquez trade in 2008, has been looked at as the catcher of the future for the Sox. He boasts a strong arm and a good bat, but it is unknown if his overall defense can have him stick behind the plate. If Flowers impresses, he should easily have the starting job in 2013 when Pierzynski’s contract expires. The Sox could also look to move A.J, but that is highly unlikely.
It’s make or break time for the Sox. They start a big series with Cleveland tonight. Winning two games or sweeping the Indians will put the Sox right in Detroit’s rear view mirror. Without the steady bat of Pierzynski, the catching duo of Flowers and Lucy have their work cut out for them. If they don’t produce, the Sox can kiss their playoff hopes goodbye.