05/01/2013 1:07 AM ET
Injured Pierzynski happy to see old friends
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- A.J. Pierzynski's first regular-season game against the White Sox since 2003, when he was with the Twins, will have to wait until at least Thursday, as Pierzynski was sidelined Tuesday by a right oblique strain.
That injury didn't stop the White Sox staple for eight years, starting in 2005, from experiencing a different sort of feeling during pregame pitchers' meetings.
"It was weird sitting in a pitchers' meeting and going over the White Sox lineup instead of going the other way," Pierzynski said.
Pierzynski faced the White Sox in Surprise, Ariz., during Spring Training and returns to U.S. Cellular Field as a visitor during a series from Aug. 23-25. He's looking forward to getting through these games so the media will stop asking about the reunion, but he was also looking forward to seeing some friends and longtime teammates.
"Guys like [Matt] Thornton, [Paul] Konerko and [Gordon] Beckham and those guys," Pierzynski said. "It's another game and it's another series. Hopefully, we'll be able to win it."
The Rangers catcher expects a few pleasant in-game exchanges at home plate. Once the game gets moving, though, it's all business.
"I'm sure I'll say hello to them, but it's not like we are going to have time to have a full conversation up there," Pierzynski said. "I'll see them after the game, I'm sure, and before the game on the field for BP.
"But we are trying to win and they are trying to win. So there's no warm fuzzies once the game starts. Before and after, yeah, we are friends and it's fine. We'll be friends for a long time. At the same time, once the game starts, it's time to win."
Wells eager to get a chance with White Sox
ARLINGTON -- Casper Wells has played for more of the American League than he certainly would have liked during the first month of the 2013 season.
His April journey started with the Mariners, until he was claimed off waivers by Toronto on April 10. The right-handed-hitting outfielder was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on April 15 and traded to the A's on April 22 in return for cash considerations.
But in moving to the White Sox via a Monday night trade for cash considerations, after the A's designated him for assignment on April 28, Wells hopes he has reached a final 2013 destination.
"I'm excited to be here with this organization and the city of Chicago," said Wells, who struck out as pinch-hitter in the eighth inning and played left in the ninth of Tuesday's 10-6 loss to the Rangers. "I just kind of had a different feeling about being here as opposed to the other clubs that I've been with, like a different sense. I'm excited to get going and playing.
"Sometimes you just get feelings. I've always loved the city of Chicago and felt like I'd love to play here. In the back of my head, like a feeling I just wanted to be in Chicago and coincidentally the White Sox picked me up."
During his April periods of inactivity, Wells has stayed sharp by hitting in Seattle and Arizona. He admits that none of that work prepares a hitter for live pitching.
The White Sox were considered far too right-handed heavy on their roster when the season started, but as the injuries piled up, more left-handed hitters were added. Wells, 28, comes in with a career .261 average, .345 on-base percentage and .482 slugging percentage against left-handed pitchers, including a .267 average with seven homers and 20 RBIs with the Mariners in 2012.
There's also the little matter of changing his feelings toward the White Sox, a team that wasn't exactly his favorite when Wells was knocking out eight of his 25 career homers with the Tigers from 2010-11. Wells doesn't seem worried about the change.
"That'll be interesting. I definitely wasn't a big fan of the White Sox when I was on the Tigers," Wells said. "I guess anyone in my division you're not a big fan of. My time [in Detroit] was great, but you have to move forward and on to the next phase and I'm excited to get the next phase of my career started here."
Beckham, Viciedo progressing with injuries
ARLINGTON -- Although Dayan Viciedo and Gordon Beckham aren't exactly a few days away from returning to the White Sox lineup, they are making steady improvements.
Beckham had the stitches taken out of his left hand, on which he had surgery on April 16 to remove a fractured hamate bone. He hopes to take flips next week in New York, after taking light swings on Sunday and Tuesday.
"I did some lighter swinging on Sunday, which really hurt," Beckham said. "That's just a lot of inflammation, not using the wrist, that kind of stuff.
"Then I got the stitches out today and swung a little bit before I got the stitches out with a normal bat. It felt a lot better. So that's a good thing. I was taking obviously not normal swings because I haven't done it in a while but good swings that I feel pretty good about after two weeks. I feel like it can only get better."
Viciedo went on the disabled list April 20 with a left oblique strain. He took 25 flips Tuesday, stopped and took another 25. He expects to make a Minor League rehab start and is feeling decidedly better from when the injury first took hold.
"For being the first time I'm swinging and soft-tossing, I felt really good. I didn't feel any pain," said Viciedo through translator and White Sox coach Lino Diaz. "[My teammates] told me to take my time, not to rush into it.
"If I happen to hurt it again, it's going to be a little longer. They have told me to take it easy. That's what I'm doing."
In order to try to keep the good feel he had before the injury, Beckham has been trying to go through mental in-game at-bats.
"I've been trying to follow the game pretty closely, trying to watch counts," Beckham "As long as my mind and head are in the game and I'm still thinking about the game, it shouldn't be too big of a transition to get back."
Keppinger hopes to return Wednesday or Thursday
ARLINGTON -- For the fourth straight game, Jeff Keppinger was out of Tuesday's starting lineup because of back spasms. But the current White Sox second baseman believes he could be back Wednesday or Thursday.
"It's gotten better each day," Keppinger said. "If I would have had to fly out Saturday or Friday, I would have had no shot. But it's loosened up tremendously. I'm available today and hopefully I'm back in there by tomorrow."
Keppinger added that the muscle spasms started in Thursday's game against the Rays and "just kind of grabbed in my low back."
"Later that night, when I went to leave from the field, it was hard for me to even put my shoes and socks on," Keppinger said. "The next day was kind of the same, the day after that it started to loosen up. By Sunday, it loosened up majorly."
Third to first
• White Sox manager Robin Ventura was asked Tuesday about what Jason Collins' coming out Monday as the first openly gay active player in a major sport meant to Major League Baseball and the White Sox.
"For me, it's just, 'Can he play or not?' That's going to be the biggest factor on deciding guys in the future," Ventura said. "It's just one of those that Jackie Robinson [and] baseball had years ago and eventually that becomes more acceptable. But it's going to be about whether a guy can play."
• Jordan Danks was scratched from Tuesday's starting lineup with an inflamed bursa sac in his right knee. Danks, who was replaced by Dewayne Wise, sustained the injury when he crashed into the U.S. Cellular Field wall Friday night trying to corral Jose Molina's ninth-inning double.
• Even before the White Sox faced A.J. Pierzynski this week, they had changed their signals.
"You're going to run into some guys that were here last year," Ventura said. "So we've done a good job of changing them up so they're not familiar."
• Adam Dunn is hitting .321 with 12 homers and 18 RBIs over 24 career games against the Rangers.