CHICAGO -- A.J. Pierzynski has been here before.
Back in 2010, the White Sox catcher suited up for what could have been his last game with the organization with free agency looming. That season finale happened to be at home, unlike Sunday's contest against the Rays, which will be followed by three more this week in Cleveland.
With Pierzynski's two-year extension coming to an end after the season, the veteran backstop once again faced the prospect of playing his last game for the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field during Sunday's 6-2 loss to the Rays.
"There's definitely a chance it could be," Pierzynski said. "You know, it's kind of bittersweet. On the one hand, obviously we would like to be in a better position than where we are at. But hopefully, we'll find a way to win these last four games and come back and have a couple more home games."
The White Sox exited Sunday's series finale with the Rays trailing the Tigers by three games with three to play, so their postseason prospects look all but completely wiped away. The fact that his team stayed in contention until the final days of the regular season hasn't given Pierzynski much time to think about the future.
Pierzynski has stated on numerous occasions that he would like to stay with Chicago. In 2010, Pierzynski was close to signing a new deal with the Dodgers before the White Sox came in at the 11th hour with a two-year, $8 million extension he couldn't refuse.
Tyler Flowers waits in the wings as possibly the next in line behind the plate. So while Pierzynski has loved his time in Chicago as much as the fans have enjoyed having him, he's ready to move on if the situation dictates.
"Like I said earlier in the season, I packed my house up once, I packed it up for a second time. It's becoming old hat now," said Pierzynski, whose wife and two children flew in for what could be his final home game with the White Sox. "I would love to come back and finish my career here, but at the same time, I know how baseball works.
"Maybe we can work something out. If not, I'll always look back fondly on my time here and appreciate it. I love the city of Chicago. I love the fans here. I love the people here. I love the organization, and you'll never hear me say anything bad about them.
"Everything comes to an end at a certain time. I hope it's not the end, but if it is, I'll look back fondly and with great memories and hold my head high, because I know I gave everything I could to the White Sox organization. I hope people remember that."
If this is Pierzynski's last of his eight years with the White Sox, he went out on a high note. Not only did he work with 10 rookie pitchers this season, but he also set a career high in home runs (27) along with 76 RBIs.
"I'm very grateful for that. Very thankful for that," said Pierzynski of his White Sox tenure. "[General manager] Kenny [Williams] kind of took a flyer on me in the '05 season and we went on to win the World Series, and I've been here ever since. It's been great. It's been a great run. Hopefully, it will continue."
Santiago hopes his future is in White Sox rotation
CHICAGO -- Hector Santiago gets the call as Monday's starter in the series opener against the Indians, making his fourth start of the season and second straight against Cleveland.
The rookie southpaw also has pitched 38 games in relief, but he hopes that working as a starter becomes his future vocation with the White Sox.
"That's what we are building up for right now, trying to get my feet wet as a starter," said Santiago, who has allowed four runs over 12 1/3 innings as a starter, while striking out 16. "I'm getting experience in the big leagues as a starter and trying to build myself up and learn how to pitch and get early outs. That's what we are building up for now to possibly be in next year."
Santiago knows about the returning starters for the 2013 starting rotation, with left-handers Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and what the White Sox hope will be a healthy John Danks already in place. Four starting southpaws may be unlikely, although Santiago has talked briefly to pitching coach Don Cooper about such a possibility.
If the White Sox put Santiago back in the bullpen, he understands it's another part of the growth process to get him to the rotation.
"I know what to expect. I know who is coming back. I know what they are looking for out of guys," Santiago said. "This year, I was all over the place. Next year, maybe settle me into a role in the bullpen, long relief or something. Then the year after that, just keep building, making my way into the rotation."
Ventura enjoying first year behind the helm
CHICAGO -- When Robin Ventura mentioned during Saturday's pregame media session that he didn't see being manager as a long-term, two-decade sort of job, he didn't mean said job was coming to an end after the 2012 season.
"I plan on being here for two more years, yes," said Ventura, who agreed to a three-year deal when taking the job. "Unless they don't want me to be here."
Ventura has embraced his first year at the helm, enjoying the people he has worked with and what the team has accomplished. Some of those people he has worked with, such as bench coach Mark Parent and third-base coach Joe McEwing, could be in consideration for managerial openings after the 2012 campaign.
"I think we got guys people would want to have and do that," Ventura said. "That's part of the game and what you'd like to see happen for these guys.
"It just means they're capable. I know that. I don't know if it says anything about us, but I know they're capable."
Third to first
Jake Peavy will decide on personal representation shortly after the conclusion of the 2012 season. The right-hander, who figures to become a free agent when the White Sox exercise their $4 million buyout instead of a $22 million team option, said there's a possibility he could represent himself.
White Sox pitchers have recorded 1,213 strikeouts this year. They need seven to match their single-season franchise mark of 1,220 set in 2011.
The White Sox are 12-for-90 (.133) with runners in scoring position over their past 13 games.
A crowd of 26,831 Sunday left the White Sox with a final home attendance of 1,965,955 for the 2012 season.
Jose Quintana is 1-3 with a 7.18 ERA in his past seven starts. He is 1-3 with a 6.25 ERA and seven homers allowed in 36 innings pitched over his past 16 games.
Nate Jones allowed a run Sunday for the first time in 21 appearances.