BOSTON, MA-The Boston Red Sox today signed catcher A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year contract through the 2014 season. A two-time All-Star and former Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award winner, Pierzynski hit .272 with 17 home runs and 70 RBI in 134 games with the Rangers last season. He started 111 games at catcher.
Pierzynski, 36, is a career .322 hitter (39-for-121) in 33 games at Fenway Park (regular and postseason).
The left-handed hitter ranked fifth among American League catchers last season in home runs, the third-highest total of his career behind 2012 (27) and 2005 (18). He is the only major league catcher to reach double digits in home runs in nine of the past 11 years.
Last year, his 44 RBI over his final 70 games (starting July 7) led American League catchers. He hit .302 with runners in scoring position, and has hit at least .300 in those situations in three of the last four years.
Pierzynski has a combined .462 slugging percentage over the last two seasons, tops among American Leaguers who primarily caught. His 44 home runs in that two-year span rank second among AL backstops, one shy of Baltimore's Matt Wieters (45).
Pierzynski has caught at least 110 games in each of the last 13 seasons from 2001-13, establishing the longest such streak in major league history. The native of Bridgehampton, NY leads active major leaguers with 1,678 career games behind the plate and his 14,172.2 career innings caught rank 12th in MLB since the start of the divisional era in 1969.
His .995 career fielding percentage is the best all-time among catchers with at least 1,000 games at the position. Last year, he set a Rangers record for catchers with a .998 fielding percentage (2 errors/959 chances), leading AL backstops for the third time in his career (also .999 in 2005 and .995 in 2011). He also topped AL catchers in double plays (8) and tied for second in assists (65) in 2013.
Nailing baserunners, Pierzynski finished strong in 2013, throwing out 16 of his last 39 runners (41 percent). Overall, he threw out 17 of 66 (26 percent), fifth best among AL qualifiers. Rangers pitchers had a 3.60 ERA with Pierzynski behind the plate last year, the catcher's best mark in 13 full seasons in the big leagues.
Originally selected by Minnesota in the third round of the 1994 June draft, Pierzynski has played parts of 16 seasons in the major leagues with the Twins (1998-2003), Giants (2004), White Sox (2005-12), and Rangers (2013). In 1,763 career games, he has hit .283 with 356 doubles, 22 triples, 172 home runs, 800 RBI, and 729 runs scored, including a lifetime .290 average against right-handed pitching. His 172 career roundtrippers rank second among active catchers to Brian McCann's 176.
Pierzynski earned his first career Silver Slugger Award in 2012, when he set career highs while leading AL catchers with 27 home runs and a .501 slugging percentage. He was selected to his first All-Star team in 2002 with the Twins in his second full big league season, and returned to the Mid-Summer Classic as a member of the White Sox in 2006.
While with Chicago, he caught Philip Humber's perfect game on April 21, 2012 at Seattle, and caught Mark Buehrle's no-hitter on April 18, 2007 against Texas.
In 30 postseason games, Pierzynski has a .300 average, five doubles, one triple, five homers, 17 RBI, and 10 walks. His .892 postseason OPS is the best ever mark as a catcher (min. 100 PA). He hit .262 (11-for-42) with four doubles, three homers, and nine RBI as the starting catcher in all 12 games of the White Sox' run to the 2005 World Series Championship.
While with the White Sox, Pierzynski was involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and was honored as one of 25 "Heroes of Hope" by the organization's Illinois chapter. He was also named White Sox Player of the Year at the March of Dimes' 2009 Charity Dinner.
With the acquisition of Pierzynski, the Red Sox' 40-man roster is now at 39.