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Texas hooks Pierzynski

Free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski has passed a physical, clearing the way for a 1-year deal with the Texas Rangers.

Free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski has passed a physical, clearing the way for a 1-year deal with the Texas Rangers.

A person familiar with the deal said Pierzynski had a physical Friday and everything was OK. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Rangers had not added Pierzynski to their 40-man roster.

With the Major League Baseball office closed for Christmas, the roster move won't be made until at least later this week. The Rangers don't have an open spot on their 40-man roster after claiming lefthanded reliever Jeff Beliveau on waivers from the Chicago Cubs earlier in the day.

The deal for Pierzynski comes after the Rangers lost catcher Mike Napoli in free agency.

Pierzynski, who turns 36 later this month, hit .278 with a career-high 27 homers and 77 RBI, matching a career best, in 135 games for the Chicago White Sox last season.

Still, Pierzynski was left off the AL All-Star roster by Rangers manager Ron Washington when the final selections were made last summer. Washington chose Minnesota's Joe Mauer for the final catcher's spot.

At the time, Washington said he considered Pierzynski "a winning player" and that he felt "really bad" about him not have room for him on the All-Star roster.

Pierzynski's response when he was snubbed was, "If he felt that bad, he would have put me on the team . . . He had an opportunity to do it. He didn't do it."

Now Pierzynski will have a chance to be a starter for the Rangers, who need catching after Napoli left. They also need some lefthanded power after losing All-Star slugger Josh Hamilton in free agency to the Los Angeles Angels last week.

Pierzynski is a .284 career hitter in 1,629 games with the White Sox (2005-12), San Francisco (2004) and Minnesota (1998-2003). He was part of a World Series team with the White Sox in 2005.

Texas acquired catcher Geovany Soto in a trade from the Chicago Cubs at the end of July, and he hit .196 with five homers and 25 RBI in 47 games last season as Napoli's primary backup.

Pierzynski could also play some games as the designated hitter. Pierzynski caught 121 games last season.

Soto became a free agent when the Rangers didn't agree to a contract before a deadline earlier this month. But he eventually agreed to a $2.75 million, 1-year contract, a more than 20 percent decrease from his $4.3 million payroll last season.

Napoli, who also played first base, hit .320 with 30 homers and 75 RBI when Texas its second straight AL pennant in 2011, then slumped to a .227 average with 24 homers and 56 RBI this year. His on-base percentage dropped from .416 to .343, but he still became a first-time All-Star after being selected as a starter by the fan vote.

Boston reached a $39 million, 3-year deal with Napoli at the start of the winter meetings more than 2 weeks ago. But that deal hasn't been finalized yet while the Red Sox address their concerns about his health.

In other news

* According to a report, veteran lefthander Francisco Liriano, after spending 5 1/2 seasons with the Minnesota Twins, will join his third team in 5 months after agreeing to a 2-year, $14 million deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Liriano, 29, traded from the Twins to the Chicago White Sox in late July, was 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA in 2012. He's 53-54 with a 4.40 ERA in six full seasons.

* The Milwaukee Brewers signed lefthanded reliever Tom Gorzelanny to a 2-year contract. The 30-year-old Gorzelanny went 4-2 with a 2.88 ERA and one save in 45 games with Washington last season, a stint that included one start.

* The Minnesota Twins signed righthander Rich Harden to a minor league contract with an invitation to compete for a spot on the staff in spring training.

Harden, 31, sat out the 2012 season after surgery on Jan. 31 to repair the rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder, his latest setback in a long line of arm problems. Harden has the third-best strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio in the majors since his debut with Oakland in 2003, behind only Tim Lincecum and Clayton Kershaw.

* The Seattle Mariners signed pitcher Jeremy Bonderman to a minor league contract, hoping the righthander can make a comeback from Tommy John surgery. Bonderman, 30, has not pitched in the majors since 2010, when he went 8-10 with a 5.53 ERA for Detroit.