St. Louis Cardinals

July 25, 2014

Cardinals bring Pierzynski on board

Numerous media outlets on Friday night were reporting that veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski had reached a contract agreement with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The left-handed-hitting Pierzynski, 37, was released earlier this month by the Boston Red Sox after batting .254 with four home runs and 31 RBIs in 72 games.

As of Friday night, the Cardinals had not confirmed the signing of Pierzynski.

Pierzynski, a player known for getting under the skin of the opponent and also for isolating teammates, is a career .282 hitter with 176 home runs and 815 RBIs in 17 seasons with Minnesota, San Francisco, the Chicago White Sox, Texas and the Red Sox.

The Cardinals are scuffling without All-Star catcher Yadier Molina, who is recovering from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. Molina could be sidelined another 10 weeks.

Initially, St. Louis expected to give the bulk of the playing time to Tony Cruz, and it recalled Audrey Perez to serve as his backup.

But Perez quickly was returned to Class AAA Memphis, and free agent George Kottaras was signed last week. Now Kottaras is on the move again with the imminent deal for Pierzynski.

How much Pierzynski has left is up for debate. He is batting .282 with three homers and 21 RBIs against right-handed pitching, which probably is how he will get the bulk of his playing time with the Cardinals, with Cruz likely playing vs. left-handers.

On defense, Pierzynski is 9-for-38 (19 percent) throwing out runners attempting to steal.

The Cardinals have been rumored in recent days to be exploring the possibility of a trade for All-Star catcher Kurt Suzuki of Minnesota.

Bringing Pierzynski on board instead will represent a financially sound move in that the Red Sox are responsible for paying the remainder of Pierzynski's $8.25 million contract.

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMWilhelm.

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