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updated: 3/16/2014 7:53 PM

Flowers looks like Sox' No. 1 catcher

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  • Adrian Nieto, who is battling for the backup catcher's job, confers with starting pitcher John Danks on Sunday.

      Adrian Nieto, who is battling for the backup catcher's job, confers with starting pitcher John Danks on Sunday.
    Associated Press

 
 

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The regular season opens in two weeks, weather permitting of course, so this is the point of spring training when the 25-man roster starts coming into view.

Barring a trade, Tyler Flowers is the White Sox' No. 1 catcher.

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"As of right now, unless something drastically changes," manager Robin Ventura confirmed Sunday after the Sox fell to the Rangers 14-8 in the Cactus League. "He's done well. He's done a good job. He's picking up offensively to where he has a solid plan when he goes up there."

Flowers was the designated hitter Sunday, and an 0-for-2 showing dropped his spring batting average to .231 with 1 home run and 3 RBI. Last season, he batted .195 with 10 homers and 24 RBI before having shoulder surgery on Sept. 5.

Backup plan:

With Flowers seemingly set as the starting catcher, Josh Phegley and Rule 5 addition Adrian Nieto are battling for the reserve job.

Nieto was 2-for-2 with a walk and 2 RBI Sunday, raising his spring average to .231.

"He's done a good job since he's been over here," manager Robin Ventura said. "He does a good job receiving back there, controlling the game. Offensively, he's gotten better as he's been in camp. We haven't seen him a whole lot as far as just being over here, but he does a good job."

If Nieto does not make the 25-man roster, he has to be offered back to his original organization, the Washington Nationals.

Phegley is batting .250 with 1 home run and 1 RBI in the Cactus League.

Good vibe:

John Danks, who started against Texas on Sunday and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings, doesn't like looking back at last season.

Not only was the left-hander ineffective while coming back from shoulder surgery, the White Sox had their worst season since 1970 with 99 losses.

It's a new year, and Danks sees good things ahead.

"Just the energy day in, day out, guys excited to be there," Danks said. "Not that we weren't trying to win or weren't trying hard last year, but once it kind of piles on it's hard to get excited and up for games. It's a fresh start. Guys are excited.

"The feel is almost like we went to the playoffs last year. Guys are ready to get the season going and getting after it. I'm very excited and optimistic about this group we have. It should be a fun summer."

At this point last spring, Danks was clearly not healthy enough to help the White Sox. He opened the 2013 season on the disabled list and didn't join the Sox until late May.

This spring, he looks to be all the way back.

"I feel good," he said. "Really, I think the main thing now is fastball command. There were a couple of pitches today that missed location and I didn't help myself. I'm feeling good about everything. My arm still feels great and I feel like I'm in good shape, stronger, and I'm excited about having a full healthy year."

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