Erstad now gives all to White Sox

first_imgWhen two reporters who cover the Angels showed up in White Sox camp recently, Pierzynski figured more attention was heading his way. After all, who could forget the role he played in the Angels’ playoff demise in 2005? Pierzynski soon realized, however, that this year there is a different White Sox tie to the Angels. “The Angels were a huge part of my career and I’ll have great memories, but when you step on the field, it’s time to win baseball games,” Erstad said, patiently taking the time for those who conveniently forgot about his competitive nature. “That’s how I feel against every team. It’s not just my personal vendetta against the Angels. It’s how I feel playing against anybody.” The White Sox and Angels will square off for the first time this spring March 17 in Tucson and again March 27 at Tempe. But the matchups Erstad is anticipating take place April 27-29 at Chicago and May 4-6 when the White Sox visit Angel Stadium. “Oh I might have a general idea of when the games are,” Erstad said with a smile when asked if he has marked the dates on his calendar. Unlike Tim Salmon last year, Erstad was shut down at the end of the season, depriving him of one farewell appearance or at-bat to receive acknowledgment from the home fans. “I don’t need that for personal stuff,” he said. “Obviously I have a very close relationship with the fans and the respect is mutual. It’s going to be tough being there, but when you strap it on, you can throw all that out the window.” The Angels are still discussing how to properly celebrate a fan favorite who now is in the opposing dugout. A video tribute is likely, at the very least. The hard-nosed Erstad isn’t sure what to expect when he comes back to Orange County. “I’m not expecting anything and I don’t know what will happen,” Erstad said. “Like I said, I have a lot of things to worry about before we get to that point.” Erstad was asked a tongue-in-cheek question about how he is getting along with his new teammate, Pierzynski, who was sitting at his locker a few feet away. Pierzynski, of course, took the bait, chiming in from a distance about reporters causing trouble. Erstad said there has been no reason to talk about the 2005 American League Championship, joking or otherwise. Pierzynski advanced to first base in Game 2 on a perceived dropped third strike, opening the door for a White Sox victory. “Hey, you guys know me, once the year is over and done with, you can close the book,” Erstad said. “That chapter is over. Things change and you just roll with it, just like I’ve said year after year. “My focus was what was going on in that Angels locker room and now my focus is what’s going on here. Find a way to make the team win. I have a one-track mind with these guys.” [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2731 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Erstad, the former Angel who had surgery on his right ankle this off-season, is getting a chance to earn a starting spot in either center or left field. “I’m very happy with how I feel and just getting back into the flow of playing again,” Erstad said. “I missed a lot of time and I’m just trying to get used to being on the field.” For the past two years, Erstad tried to grit his teeth and play through various injuries. It had an obvious impact on his game. “You have to find a way to make do with what you have and I did as best as I could and it wasn’t good enough,” Erstad said. “I’ll move on and go from there.” Erstad has heard about the small stir caused by a comment he made earlier this spring. While trying to let it be known that he is fully committed to the White Sox, he said the Angels were just another team. He said his desire is to kick the stuffing – so to speak – out of them. center_img TUCSON, Ariz. – Darin Erstad is doing just fine in Chicago White Sox spring camp. He’s playing well and feeling healthy for the first time in more than two years. He is even … gulp … getting along with A.J. Pierzynski, who has a nearby locker. last_img

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