The Boston Red Sox designated catcher AJ Pierzynski for assignment on Wednesday. Hours later, they erased a four-run deficit against the Chicago White Sox to walk off with a win. Coincidence? The team doesn’t want you to think so.
According to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, players had approached both the Red Sox coaches and front office about the “negative influence” Pierzynski was having on the team. The 37-year-old veteran, who is not very well liked around the league and has had problems with teammates in the past, apparently had become a problem in the clubhouse.
It should be noted that one player can’t be defined as the downfall of this Red Sox team to date, but it was tough to ignore the voices throughout the home clubhouse in the aftermath of the team’s 5-4 walkoff victory over the White Sox, which described an entirely different dugout environment than there had been up through Tuesday. Over the course of a season, there are few times such proclamations are made, but this was unmistakably one of those rarities.
The Red Sox might rattle off 10 straight losses, leading to many of the same players who were celebrating Wednesday’s win being shipped out of town. But the facts are the facts, and the facts are that this one player was identified as a dark cloud that had just been lifted by multiple members of what is perceived as one of baseball’s most tight-knit groups.
Bradford also said he was told that Pierzynski often seemed more interested in looking at his phone in the locker room than working with Boston’s pitching staff, even when one pitcher was an “emotional wreck” after being pulled early from a start.