AP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Texas Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski was out of the starting lineup for Tuesday night's series opener against his former team, the Chicago White Sox.
Pierzynski had some bruises on his right side after treatment for an oblique issue he has been dealing with for a couple of weeks. He hoped to be back behind the plate before the end of the three-game series.
"It actually has gotten better. It just looks worse now, so they wanted to make sure they get rid of the bruising that's in there to keep it from hurting other muscles," Pierzynski said. "It actually feels better than it did the last two weeks, so they're just trying to get rid of that. ... It's no big deal. I've played with worse, and hopefully I'll be out there (Wednesday)."
Manager Ron Washington said Pierzynski, who spent the past eight seasons with the White Sox and was part of their 2005 World Series title, was available as a pinch hitter if needed Tuesday night.
"He's not out; he's just down," Washington said.
This is the only trip to Rangers Ballpark this season for the White Sox, who will host a three-game series against Texas in late August.
"It's killing me not to be out there. Obviously the team I was with the last eight years, a bunch of guys, a bunch of my friends and to not be able to go out there, at least today, is hard," Pierzynski said. "I was looking forward to this series, just because of the people and everything."
After an off day Monday for the Rangers, Washington hoped an extra day or two out of the lineup would be beneficial for his catcher. The manager indicated Pierzynski also might not start Wednesday.
Geovany Soto made his sixth start at catcher for the Rangers this season Tuesday night.
Pierzynski is hitting .295, and his eight-game hitting streak while playing hurt is the longest for a Texas player this season. Pierzynski said they are trying to be proactive and prevent the oblique issue from being a longer-term problem. Doctors were concerned about the coloring and bruising.
"I need him around here the rest of the year," Washington said.
Pierzynski said he missed a series against the Rangers last season because of the same issue. He said it was worse then, when he missed only three games.
While he can catch, run and throw, and even worked out before Tuesday's game, it does hurt when he swings.
"It's actually funny. Now where I was originally hurt, it feels great. I'm sore in a different area, because it's like a giant bruise," he said, adding trainers "kind of liken it to getting hit by a bat or being in a car accident. There's nothing they can do about it."
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