New Red Sox catcher waits on Fenway first

New Red Sox catcher waits on Fenway first
December 12, 2013, 11:15 pm
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(Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports)

Here’s a little fun fact about new Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, courtesy of mlb.com: He has never hit a home run at Fenway Park.

Pierzynski has 172 homers over his 16-year major-league career, and he’s made 121 plate appearances in Boston. But no dingers, round-trippers, four-ply wallops, Ruthian clouts, taters, homeric hoists … (OK, gotta cut myself off.)

"Well, I need to hit a home run,” he told mlb.com. “I've never hit a home run there, and that bothers me, because it's the only park I've never hit one in. I've got to figure out a way to sneak one around the pole down there in right field. I've hit a few off the wall in left, but every time I seem to hit one to right, for some reason they either catch it or it bounces. One of these days, I'm going to run into one there, and I'm going to have to probably get the ball."

Pierzynski, signed as a free agent earlier this month, has hit well in Fenway overall, .322 for his career, even without a homer. And he said he’s looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere as a member of the home team.

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"It's always been a good place to hit and always has a good feel as a batter," he said. "It always feels like you can reach out and touch left field, so it's always a good feeling when you know you can get beat and still get a hit. It's a good park. I've always loved playing there because of the energy. There's always a different energy there. It's one of the most special places in baseball, so it's going to be fun."

Pierzynski will split the catching duties with David Ross for Boston, though he is remarkably sturdy. Last season, at 36, he caught 119 games for the Rangers.  

"At the end of the day, also, it's something I want to do. I want to be out there, I want to try to play every day. .. Catching is not easy. You have to want to get back there. …

"It gets harder the older you get, that's for sure. … You can't do what you used to be able to do. You can't go and do some of the things off the field that you used to be able to do.”