Breaking News Bar
updated: 4/29/2014 11:18 PM

Flowers getting back into the swing of game

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Chicago White Sox's Tyler Flowers, left, and Marcus Semien celebrate after scoring off a double by Adam Eaton, on a pitch by Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jake McGee, during the sixth inning of a baseball game Monday in Chicago.

      Chicago White Sox's Tyler Flowers, left, and Marcus Semien celebrate after scoring off a double by Adam Eaton, on a pitch by Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jake McGee, during the sixth inning of a baseball game Monday in Chicago.
    Associated Press

 
 

He's usually decked out in bulky catching gear, and he's also dropped 12 pounds from last season, so maybe you don't recognize Tyler Flowers.

Sometimes, he has trouble recognizing himself.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

"I feel like a different player," Flowers said. "The whole works, catching, throwing, my stance, the swing, all of that."

When he says different, Flowers is paying himself a compliment.

He realizes that he might have had a handful or two of fans last season, when he batted .195 while losing his job to Josh Phegley in July and then having season-ending shoulder surgery in early September.

When Flowers agreed to a one-year, $950,000 contract in December, many Sox fans just assumed he'd be the backup catcher at best.

But general manager Rick Hahn bravely put his belief in Flowers, and it's been paying off big.

Even after going 0-for-3 with a walk in Tuesday night's 4-3 loss to the Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field, Flowers is batting a cool .359.

The game was tied at 3 until the ninth inning, when Austin Jackson reached third on right fielder Dayan Viciedo's error. With two outs, Jackson came home on catcher Bryan Holaday's surprise bunt single.

"It was just a perfect bunt," manager Robin Ventura said. "Smart play."

Flowers appeared to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth with a deep drive to center field, but Jackson tracked the ball down and made the catch in front of the fence.

Flowers has 28 hits overall so far and 25 are singles. Last year, he had 50 hits and only 29 were singles.

"Hopefully, this is a good foundation to lead me into whatever the next event is," Flowers said. "Hopefully, that'll be hitting for a little more power, but if I can hit singles all year and have a high average, I'm OK with that. I don't think that'll necessarily happen, I'm sure I'll hit the barrel sometimes. But I'm definitely not going to complain about getting hits because I've been on the other end and sometimes it's very, very hard to get a hit."

The obvious question is -- why is Flowers suddenly such a better hitter?

"I don't think it's anything major with the swing," Flowers said. "I haven't shortened it or anything like that. I think my approach has helped me to trick people into thinking it's shorter.

"The big thing is I'm doing a better job of laying off pitches I'm not looking for. When you do that and you get pitches you are looking for, it's going to look like you're short or you're quick or you're on time, all those kinds of things."

Swinging at good pitches in the right spot is big with new hitting coach Todd Steverson, and Flowers is already a prized pupil.

"You have to have a game plan up there," Steverson said. "You can't go up there oblivious to what you're doing. You've got roughly 6-8 minutes in the box over the course of a three-and-a-half hour ballgame. You have to have some sort of focus, some sort of plan, and that's what he's been able to put together. You have to have a thought of what you want to do."

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here