Rumors began to swirl on Chicago talk radio and in social media yesterday, that Chicago White Sox catcher, A.J. Pierzynski tested positive for performance enhancing drugs and would begin serving a 50-game suspension immediately, essentially being lost for the season. With the White Sox clinging to a one-game lead over the Detroit Tigers, losing the veteran catcher for the season would be disastrous.
Rest easy for now White Sox fans. Despite creating a lot of chatter, Pierzynski’s PED suspension appears to be just a rumor, possibly started in a Detroit Tigers chat room. Per Chicago Sports Radio 670 the Score’s Mulley and Hanley Show, Major League Baseball has verified that there is absolutely no truth to the Pierzynski suspension rumor and he is expected to be in the line-up on Friday when the White Sox begin a series against the Kansas City Royals and for a likely play-off deciding four game series against the Detroit Tigers from September 11th through the 14th.
Pierzynski, 35, who will be free agent this year, is having the best season of his 15-year career, setting a new career-high in homeruns with 24. By the end of the season, he should also set new career highs in RBIs, walks and runs scored. In the era where several superstars have been associated with PEDs (Ryan Braun), an aging player who has a year where he shatters all of his career best offense statistics is likely to draw suspicion. Just two weeks ago, Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon was suspended for a PED violation.
Pierzynski, who also leads all major league catchers in homeruns, is no stranger to controversy, but has a reputation as one of the more hard-working players in the game. He’s also one of its smartest. Therefore it is highly unlikely entering a contract year that he would cheat. If it was a Detroit Tigers fan that tried to create controversy and a team distraction through this rumor, I applaud you as I look down on you in your second place cage.