John Farrell: Meeting with A.J. Pierzynski seemed to put catcher's mind at ease

Rob Bradford
May 01, 2014 - 10:01 am

This was from A.J. Pierzynski with Joe Castiglione and Dave O'€™Brien on the Red Sox radio broadcast immediately following the Red Sox'€™ win over the Blue Jays Friday night: "I just feel more like myself. I haven't been myself," Pierzynski said. "I wasn't myself for the first 20 games. I just wasn't having a good time and I was trying too hard and all that stuff. I just said, 'Just play the way you know how to play.' And it's been a lot more fun and a lot better. Obviously the results make it more fun, but at the same time it's a lot more fun coming to the park when you're acting yourself instead of trying to do things that's not how you go about it. The last couple of days I just said, 'Let's go back to basics and play like you know how to play baseball.'" Thursday, prior to Game 1 of his team'€™s doubleheader with the Rays, Red Sox manager John Farrell added some context to the Pierzynski turnaround. "I think after, there was a game in the New York series, I had the chance to have a little bit of a sit-down and he kind of just '€¦ in some ways, stopped trying to force his way in and just go play, as he'€™s done for many, many years and been a very good player," Farrell explained. "I think it was his own realization of just not trying to be anybody different, just go about your game as you typically do. and since that point, he swung the bat well, he'€™s thrown well, he'€™s received well. Sometimes coming into a new organization regardless of your age and experience level, there'€™s a feeling out process and I think he just gave to it and has been off and going." Farrell went on to say that it was Pierzynski who requested the get-together, and that the impetus for the meeting was for a variety of reasons. "I don'€™t know that it was any one thing," the manager said. "It was just more of a matter of being in a new place for the first time and like you said, more of a feeling out phase and just realized, you know what, hey, this is a group of guys that loves to compete and just jump in and go and not think about anything else." Farrell added, '€œHe came in. We had a chance to kind of sit down and talk through a couple of things and give some impressions of what'€™s being seen. That was probably the extent that I'€™d go with it. Of late, it'€™s been clear he'€™s played a little bit more free of mind.'€ Since the New York series, Pierzynski has gone 6-for-15 in four games, carrying a 1.078 OPS with six RBI. "We didn'€™t expect that he would come in and morph into a different approach at the plate," said Farrell of the catcher, who is still taking just 3.2 pitches per plate appearance (below his career average of 3.32). "We were aware of it, accepting of it, but I think even for him, there were times he was swinging the bat even more aggressively and since then, he'€™s kind of slowed the game down a little bit and things have worked out well."