A.J. Pierzynski will face his former squad on Tuesday when the Texas Rangers begin a three-game series with the visiting Chicago White Sox at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
The first-year Rangers catcher, a core member of the White Sox for eight years, faces his prior team for the first time since signing with Texas in the offseason. Pierzynski helped Chicago win a World Series in 2005 and capped his time there with a Silver Slugger Award last year after hitting a career-high 27 home runs. He carries an eight-game hitting streak into Tuesday's series opener.
"I don't know if it makes it any less strange or anything, or more strange," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "But you know it will be good to see him. He's chatty. I don't have to bat. So I don't have to listen to that part. I'm sure he'll be chatty."
Both teams were idle on Monday, and for the AL West-leading Rangers the off day came on the heels of consecutive losses for the first time this season. Texas took the opening two games of a four-game set with Minnesota but lost the back two over the weekend, 7-2 and 5-0. The offense has hit just .185 with runners in scoring position over the last six games.
Like the Rangers, Chicago is coming off a disappointing four-game split with the Rays after winning the first two games of their series. Paul Konerko hit a two-run home run in Sunday's finale, but the White Sox' offense was held largely in check by reigning AL Cy Young winner David Price as they fell, 8-3.
Tuesday's series opener kicks off an eight-game road trip for the White Sox, who will send Jose Quintana to the mound. Ever since giving up five runs in his inaugural start of the season, the left-hander has allowed only two earned runs over his last three starts (0.96 ERA), spanning 18 2/3 innings. He has fanned 17 batters in that span.
Rangers starter Yu Darvish will try to add to his major league-leading 49 strikeouts, as well as an 18-inning scoreless streak. In his last outing, Darvish struck out 11 batters and allowed just three hits in an 11-3 road win over the Angels on Wednesday.
"This is about as dominant as I've seen someone," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "This guy is finesse and power. He can do either of those, and because he can do either of those when he's on he can make good hitters look bad. When he's not on, he has enough in his repertoire that he can still hang in the ballgame."
The White Sox won six of nine meetings with Texas last season.