A. J. Pierzynski, the Man They Love to Hate, Is Still Behind the Plate


A. J. Pierzynski on Monday at the Braves’ training camp in Florida. Four years ago, in a poll of 100 major leaguers, Pierzynski was named baseball’s most hated player.

Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — He does not even bother knocking on the wooden frame of his locker stall at spring training. A. J. Pierzynski has made it this far, to the phase of his career when he plays strictly because he loves it. Of course he has been lucky. No need to ask for more.

“Never had any arm problems at all — never had back problems, never had leg problems,” Pierzynski said after an Atlanta Braves practice on Monday. “I’m 39 years old now. I go to my kids’ school, and they’re like, ‘How do you squat?’ I don’t even think about it. It doesn’t hurt. It’s my job. It’s what I do.”

Fans sometimes ask Pierzynski, who batted .300 last season, what he will do next. He has options, but no idea how to respond. He…

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