(BaseballStL) — Tuesday was a strange reunion at Busch Stadium, as the Cardinals and Red Sox met for the first time since the World Series, with familiar faces wearing unfamiliar uniforms. While each city’s media played clubhouse swap, the earliest reporter’s circle was around A.J. Pierzynski’s locker.
Pierzynski was released by Boston on July 16 and inked a deal with the Cardinals on July 25. Tuesday was the first time Beantown media had access to the 37-year-old since he donned the Birds on the Bat and his locker room scrum was the closing chapter of his Red Sox story.
“I don’t know if I saw it coming, but I know how this game works. It’s a business and that’s fine,” he said of his release. “I didn’t really ask for a reason, they really didn’t give me one and that was it. We didn’t really talk about it. I just thanked them for the opportunity and that was it.”
After starting 65 games for the Red Sox, Pierzynski will get the chance to apply that experience against them, catching and hitting sixth in the series opener. Despite the way his tenure with Boston closed, he says he carries no grudges into the game.
“I love Boston. I love the city, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the heck out of it. Living in Boston was great. I have no hard feelings. I know everybody expects me to be bitter and be mad but I’m not,” he said.
The Boston media pointed out the feeling may not be mutual, asking Pierzynski if he read anything said about him after he departed. The veteran brushed off the question, instead focusing on the present.
“All I can say is nobody said anything to me while I was there. Whatever was said after I left- I saw a little bit of it but I didn’t really pay a lot of attention to it,” he said. “I’m a Cardinal now. If you guys want to talk about that, that’s fine.”
Despite joining his sixth team in 17 years, it’s the first time he’s made the switch mid-season. Catching for the Cardinals is his first stint in the National League since 2004 and with his seventh start coming Tuesday, he said he doesn’t feel like jumping leagues has been much of a hurdle.
“Well guys switch team so much, you play interleague every year, so there’s not as much of a learning curve as I think there used to be,” he said. “Now with the interleague bouncing around so much you really get to see a lot of these teams. We (Boston) played the [NL] Central so we already played the Brewers, we already played the Cubs so that was a little bit of a head start for me.”
It couldn’t have been a better one, since four of his first six starts in a St. Louis uniform were against those two teams. Now, after taking a crash course to catch up with his new squad, he will start against a team that he knows better than anyone in the clubhouse. While former Cardinals Joe Kelly and Allen Craig may feel strange seeing their former team from the visiting dugout, Pierzynski said he wouldn't have any such struggles.
“It’s not like I was there for years and years. It was more strange when I faced the White Sox or when I first played the Twins when I was with the White Sox but as far as playing these guys- I was there for three months or two months, whatever it was,” he said.
He will catch Lance Lynn for the second time since joining his new team.