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updated: 8/5/2014 10:40 PM

New approach a hit for White Sox' Flowers

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  • White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers hits a triple against the Texas Rangers during Monday night's Sox victory.

      White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers hits a triple against the Texas Rangers during Monday night's Sox victory.
    Associated Press

 
 

In major-league baseball, only the strong survive. That, in a nutshell, is why Tyler Flowers is still squatting.

The White Sox catcher had a .195/.247/.355 hitting line last season, and Flowers lost his starting job to Josh Phegley in early July before having season-ending shoulder surgery in September.

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Flowers' time on the South Side appeared to be up, but the Sox brought him back on a one-year, $950,000 contract. He regained his starting job in spring training and looked like a huge bargain when his average climbed to .357 on May 3.

But the bat soon went silent, an 8-for-90 slide dropping Flowers' average to .213 on July 12.

"I think you understand a lot of the things he's gone through," manager Robin Ventura said. "The game has the ability to bring you to your knees. I think offensively, you have to be able to withstand it.

"You have to have tough skin and regain confidence in a way that a lot of people don't quite understand how difficult that is to go through.

"But he's been there and back, and I think right now you ride the wave of feeling good and understanding what he's going through."

Flowers is going through another surge, and a 22-for-50 streak has hiked the 28-year-old catcher's average to a respectable .251.

Much has been made of Flowers' success coinciding with his switch to glasses last month.

"It's got to be the glasses, right?" he cracked. "That's what everyone's saying. I just try to keep working. I started doing a couple things a little bit different that I hadn't really done before.

"I kind of looked at other good hitters around the league and they all seemed to do it, so I started working on that and kind of good things have happened since I started. A good feeling has been there most days since then."

What did Flowers pick up from the good major-league hitters he studied?

"I just try to be downhill a little more," Flowers said. "I'm trying to make a positive move toward the pitcher with my stride. I have a tendency to kind of want to stay back, and that tends to make me collapse a little bit more on the backside.

"So when its there it's pretty good, and when it's not it's not very good. It's still something I'm working on, and I'm still trying to get comfortable with it."

Flowers has done a good job staying positive through all the ups and downs the past two seasons, but his struggles at the plate have sapped confidence.

Lately, his mental approach has been as good as ever.

"The mental is just as powerful and debilitating as the mechanical stuff," Ventura said. "You have to believe in the mechanical stuff to have it work.

"There are some things that make it better balance-wise and how he's swinging, but the confidence in your hand-eye coordination when you're there is just as important as anything else."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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