LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A.J. Pierzynski will return to the White Sox as a team ambassador, the former All-Star catcher announced Monday afternoon at the Winter Meetings.Pierzynski mentioned that he will take part in 2018 Opening Day ceremonies and attend other games in relation to his role, as well
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A.J. Pierzynski will return to the White Sox as a team ambassador, the former All-Star catcher announced Monday afternoon at the Winter Meetings.
Pierzynski mentioned that he will take part in 2018 Opening Day ceremonies and attend other games in relation to his role, as well as represent the team during the MLB Draft. The durable left-handed hitter, who retired in 2016, played eight seasons for the White Sox and was a major part in the team's '05 World Series championship.
"Obviously, I consider myself a White Sox after all the years and winning a championship there," Pierzynski said. "For them to approach me about coming back, it means a lot.
"It's special, because it's the place where people ask you, 'Where did you play?' And I remember a lot of the other places, but I always remember that one. When they ask to come back, it's hard to say no."
One primary 2018 goal for Pierzynski is broadcasting a White Sox game with Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, whose illustrious career as White Sox play-by-play television announcer comes to an end next season. The White Sox and Pierzynski tried to do it in '17, but due to his FOX broadcast commitments, it never happened.
After talking to White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, White Sox senior vice president of communications Scott Reifert and senior director of business development and broadcasting Bob Grim, Pierzynski hopes to be part of Harrelson's broadcasting farewell.
"I told Scott and Bob that I'll move heaven and Earth to make sure I'm able to get at least one game in with Hawk, since it is his last year and we need to make this happen," Pierzynski said. "This year, they're only doing Sunday games, so it will make it a lot easier to be able to come out and just ride on Hawk's coattails.
"My biggest goal is to get him into the Hall of Fame. Hawk is a special person and once-in-a-multi-generation announcer. People use his phrases all the time, walking down the street. They don't even know where it came from. Hawk is special and special to White Sox fans and special to me and my family."
Jose Contreras also will be announced as a new White Sox ambassador later this week, as mentioned by general manager Rick Hahn during his Monday media session. Contreras, 46, will be going to work on the baseball side as well, spending time in the Minor League system and working with some White Sox Latin players in their acclimation to being professionals in the states.
Contreras, who pitched six years for the White Sox, produced a 3-1 record during the 2005 postseason.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.