A.J. Pierzynski's first interaction with his former club wasn't very pleasant.
He may be in the lineup against the Chicago White Sox for the first time Thursday night, when the Texas Rangers attempt to remain the only team in the majors to avoid losing a series.
Pierzynski spent eight seasons with the White Sox (11-15), playing a vital role in helping them win the 2005 World Series.
The former All-Star left Chicago for Texas (17-10) via free agency in December, and he's hitting .360 in eight home games.
He wasn't very happy with his first meeting with the White Sox after soreness and bruising to his side kept him out of Tuesday's 10-6 win in the opener of this three-game set.
In a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 5-2 loss, Pierzynski was hit by a pitch from closer Addison Reed . The fiery catcher reacted by flipping his bat away and saying a few words before staring at Reed on his way to first - and even more after getting there.
"I'm sure he was just trying to pitch me in and it got away," Pierzynski said diplomatically afterward.
The catcher may start Thursday as Texas tries to avoid its first series loss this season, and he was scheduled to see a familiar face on the mound in former batterymate Jake Peavy . But the White Sox scratched the right-hander Thursday afternoon due to back spasms and will instead send Hector Santiago to the hill for his season debut.
Santiago (0-1, 2.51 ERA) has made seven appearances out of the bullpen this season, and he didn't allow a run in the first six. The left-hander gave up four and 10 hits in 3 2-3 innings Saturday against Tampa Bay, however.
Santiago has made two relief appearances against Texas, pitching one scoreless inning in each.
Though this is just his fifth major league start, he's pitched fairly well in that role. Santiago went 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA in his first four late last season, striking out 26 in 19 1-3 innings.
The Rangers counter with rookie Justin Grimm (2-0, 1.59), who has won his last two starts while yielding two runs - one earned - and yielding 11 hits with 13 strikeouts in 13 innings.
"The name of the game is trusting my stuff," Grimm told the team's official website "It's not just the stuff, it's just a mindset. It's not trying for the strikeout or trying to do too much but just trusting my stuff out there."
The right-hander certainly did that Friday, scattering five hits in seven scoreless innings of a 4-3 win at Minnesota.
"I just want to pitch for this team, whether it's in the rotation or not," Grimm said. "I want to prove that I belong here. That's the whole idea."
It seems like he'll get that chance since Matt Harrison had a setback in his recovery from surgery on a herniated disk in his lower back, and needs a second operation in nine days.
Grimm, though, was tagged for three runs with three strikeouts and two walks in the final three innings of a 19-2 road loss to the White Sox on July 3.
|Alejandro De Aza||2||.000||0||0||0||0||0||.000||.000||.000|
|Chicago White Sox|
|April 28, 2013||Gavin Floyd||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor strain|
|April 22, 2013||Hector Gimenez||Day-to-Day||Left shin|
|April 19, 2013||Dayan Viciedo||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|April 10, 2013||Gordon Beckham||15-Day DL||Fractured hamate bone, left wrist|
|April 10, 2013||Angel Sanchez||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|April 09, 2013||Gordon Beckham||Day-to-Day||Left game - nerve irritation, left wrist|
|April 20, 2013||Nick Tepesch||Day-to-Day||Left game - right arm bruise|
|April 11, 2013||Justin Miller||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|April 07, 2013||Matt Harrison||15-Day DL||Inflamed nerve in lower back|
|April 07, 2013||Yu Darvish||Day-to-Day||Left game - blister|
|March 24, 2013||Neftali Feliz||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Joakim Soria||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Hector Santiago was supposed to be a fill-in starter for the series opener in frigid Kansas City.
The Chicago White Sox left-hander ended up getting the call a night earlier in surprisingly chilly Texas.
Santiago allowed two hits in five-plus innings filling in for Jake Peavy on Thursday night, Tyler Flowers hit a three-run homer and the Chicago White Sox beat Texas 3-1, handing the Rangers their first series loss of the season.
Santiago allowed just one hit through five innings - a home run by Adrian Beltre in the second - and the Chicago bullpen survived some wildness in the coldest May game at Rangers Ballpark, just three weeks after the coldest day game on Texas' home field.
The 25-year-old Santiago was supposed to replace Gavin Floyd on Friday night in Kansas City, where the forecast is for temperatures barely above freezing a day after the Royals were snowed out against Tampa Bay. Instead, Santiago replaced Peavy, sidelined by back spasms, on a 44-degree night in Texas.
"Going into it as a starter you always say you know when you're going to throw, but I kind of had prepared for tomorrow," said Santiago, who had six strikeouts and two walks in his first start of the season and fifth of his career. "I felt fine and warming up I felt really good. Nothing was different than a regular day."
Flowers' drive just inside the foul pole in left field was the third straight hit after Texas right-hander Justin Grimm (2-1) retired 10 in a row on the day he was named AL rookie of the month.
Flowers did his part before the game, too, easing his battery mate's mind after Peavy's effort to loosen up his back failed.
"He was talking to me before the game, `Hey do you want to go over the lineup?"' " Flowers said, "and I was like, `Do you?' and he said, `Not really.' And I was like `Good, just throw what I put down and we'll go from there.' He's one of those guys that I think is more effective because he doesn't overthink things."
Addison Reed pitched around two of Chicago's seven walks, striking out the side in the ninth for his 10th save and second in two nights.
The game-time temperature was 37 degrees cooler than the previous night. It was a 40-degree difference on April 10, when the temperature at first pitch was 39 degrees for 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay in a day game after it had been 79 the night before.
"It's miserable," said Texas designated hitter Lance Berkman , who was hitless with two walks. "I've been here a long time, and I can't remember a day this cold in May."
The Rangers were the last team in the majors without a series loss, but now they've gone two series without winning after splitting four games with Minnesota last weekend. The White Sox won two straight after Texas took the opener.
Grimm, who had a 1.59 ERA in three April starts to earn rookie of the month honors, was cruising with two outs in the sixth when Conor Gillaspie and Alexei Ramirez singled before Flowers drove a hanging breaking ball for his fourth homer of the season.
After walking three in the first 2 1-3 innings, Grimm didn't give up another free pass and tied his career high of nine strikeouts set last month against Seattle. He allowed six hits in 6 2-3 innings.
"He really had good stuff working tonight," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Just left one in the wrong spot to Flowers. Other than that, he did what he had to do to keep us in the ballgame. We just couldn't put any runs on the board."
Santiago, whose first seven appearances this season were in relief, gave up his second hit when Ian Kinsler doubled with one out in the sixth, and he was replaced by Matt Lindstrom after walking Elvis Andrus . Lindstrom threw a wild pitch and walked Berkman to load the bases, but got Beltre to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Beltre, who is hitting .215, had another chance to do some damage in the eighth but struck out on a slow breaking ball from Jesse Crain .
"He's going to be the run producer," Washington said. "How close, I don't know. I can tell you this. What you see now, you won't see through the season."
NOTES: White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Floyd was seeking multiple medical opinions after going on the disabled list with a flexor muscle strain in his right arm. Floyd was on the disabled list twice last season with elbow issues. ... Rangers LF David Murphy was out of the starting lineup for the third straight game, but manager Ron Washington said the slumping left-handed hitter wasn't being demoted to a platoon with Jeff Baker . Washington said he was just riding Baker's hot bat. Baker started the day at .360 and homered in both of the first two games against the White Sox. Murphy was hitting .174. ... White Sox CF Dewayne Wise was a late scratch with a stiff neck. He was replaced in the lineup by Casper Wells , who played left. Alejandro De Aza started in center. ... Rangers prospect Mike Olt will see another eye specialist after one doctor didn't see anything out of the ordinary. Olt has been sidelined for a week, complaining of vision problems. He's hitting .139 at Triple-A Round Rock.