SAN FRANCISCO - And they say Barry Bonds is hard to get along with.
Well it looks like catcher A.J. Pierzynski is getting that label with the San Francisco Giants now.
Pierzynski, acquired from the Twins during the offseason, is not only struggling at the plate, he reportedly has developed a poor relationship with his teammates.
Pierzynski is hitting just .236, with the Giants in last place in the NL West.
"He's the cancer in here," one Giant, who requested anonymity, told the Oakland Tribune. "The pitchers aren't happy with him. If they can trade him, that would be fine with me. We all know Yorvie (Yorvit Torrealba) can catch this staff."
Pierzynski denies he wants out of San Francisco, and said he has worked hard to develop a good relationship with Giant pitchers.
His teammates disagree.
The latest incident reportedly occurred before Wednesday's game against the Atlanta Braves, when two players confirmed to the Tribune that Pierzynski ignored starting pitcher Brett Tomko's request to go over opposing hitters. Instead, the players said, Pierzynski resumed playing cards for another 20 minutes.
"I've never in all my years seen a catcher who didn't watch video before games," one pitcher told the newspaper. "He doesn't watch hitters -- other than the Twins games when they're on TV."
Also, according to two Giants players, the Padres' Phil Nevin said Pierzynski was criticizing Giants pitchers while Nevin was at the plate.
"That did it for me," one Giants pitcher told the Tribune. "If a pitching staff doesn't have the respect of their catcher, that's it. That's what it's all about.
"I can understand if you're a veteran who's been here six years, somebody like Benito (Santiago). That's one thing. You're entitled to do things your way. But when you're coming into a new situation, you're the one that has to earn respect. This is an established pitching staff."
Added another pitcher: "He's my catcher. I've got to work with the guy. But if they make a change, that would be fine by me."
Pierzynski told the Tribune he has a good work ethic.
"My job is to help this staff," Pierzynski told the newspaper. "Hitting is a bonus. I take pride in not taking my at-bats into the field. Defensively, I think I've been pretty good, and I feel it's getting better.
"It's always a work in progress when they get a new guy. I'm working to get better, and the guys have been great to me. I talked to Woody (Kirk Rueter) after his start, I talked to Tomko today. It's all about getting a feel for what they need to do to get better. We talk about pitch selection between innings all the time."
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