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Market could move quickly for Sox's Pierzynski

(MCT) — White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Thursday that some movement at the top end of the free agent catching pool could clarify the market for A.J. Pierzynski.

That was shortly before New York Yankees free agent Russell Martin agreed to terms with Pittsburgh on a two-year, $17 million contract, according to several reports.

Martin's agreement could accelerate negotiations involving Pierzynski and Mike Napoli, who is perceived as a part-time catcher but has received strong interest from Boston, Texas and Seattle.

Last season, Pierzynski, 35, made no secret of his desire to play for several more seasons as a full-time catcher. He has caught more than 1,000 innings for 11 consecutive seasons, and he is coming off a season in which he hit a career-high 27 home runs.

That would seem to temper a tweet from CBSSports' Jon Heyman that the Los Angeles Dodgers have surfaced as a potential suitor for Pierzynski, since the Dodgers already have incumbent A.J. Ellis. But the Dodgers nearly signed Pierzynski two years ago before Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf made a successful last-minute bid to keep Pierzynski.

At any rate, the New York Yankees (who train 90 minutes from Pierzynski's Orlando-area home) will need to fill the catching spot vacated by Martin's departure.

A few Texas officials assessed last month whether Pierzynski's power surge was an indication he could succeed at Rangers Ballpark or if it was a fluke. Pierzynski could become a big priority to the Rangers should they elect to not tender Geovany Soto a contract by Friday night's deadline for tendering contracts to all unsigned players under team control.

The Sox, meanwhile, appear more comfortable heading into spring training with backup Tyler Flowers taking over, and several end-of-season comments by pitchers indicate they're just as content with Flowers behind the plate.

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