ST. LOUIS — Veteran acquisition A.J. Pierzynski isn’t done quite yet. After playing parts of 17 seasons in the majors, the 37-year-old will get at least one more taste of October baseball.
The Cardinals announced their roster for the NLCS Friday, and Pierzynski has a place on it, replacing lefty reliever Sam Freeman. Freeman only appeared once in the NLDS, walking two batters and recording no outs in Game 1.
"The elaboration on that would be wanting to have another experienced bat, and what A.J. has been able to do through his career and in the postseason gives us another-- actually a couple options," Mike Matheny said. "It also frees us up to use Tony Cruz to come off the bench as a right-handed bat, but bringing A.J. in as a potent left-handed bat for us."
Pierzynski’s postseason stats are impressive, as he sports a .300 average, five homers and 17 RBIs in 30 playoff games.
With Marco Gonzales emerging as a trustworthy left-handed option in the pen, Matheny opted to go with an extra bat over an extra reliever to bolster his offense.
"Marco has taken advantage of everything we have given him and gets a couple of wins," he said. "And in big situations, we're throwing him in there against lefties and tough righties in the middle of their lineup and he's making great pitches. At this time of the year, we're going with the hot hands, and right now he's done a terrific job."