Flowers could benefit from winter at-bats

September, 30, 2012
9/30/12
3:40
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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Chicago White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers is considering playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic this winter in order to better prepare for next season.

Flowers has only played in 51 games in 2012 and has had just 133 at-bats, hardly what he or the Sox expected going into the season. The plan was for Flowers and starter A.J. Pierzynski to share the catching this year. But Pierzynski got off to a hot start and never slumped until the final two weeks of the season.

[+] EnlargeTyler Flowers
Dennis Wierzbicki/US PresswireSox backup catcher Tyler Flowers didn't get as many at-bats as was expected this season.
“I can’t say enough about (Pierzynski),” Flowers said. “We have developed a close relationship over the course of the last year and a half. He has taught me a lot about what it takes to prepare yourself to play both from a conditioning and mental approach. I would like to get a chance to do what he does every day and hopefully I will get ha opportunity. “

The Sox coaching staff likes the way Flowers prepares and catches. The real question now is what will happen with Pierzynski’s free-agent status, and if he leaves will Flowers make enough constant contact to hold on to the regular job. In his limited at-bats, Flowers struck out 54 times this season.

While Flowers recently became a father, he has his wife’s consent to leave to play winter ball in order to enhance his chances of starting next season if Pierzynski signs elsewhere.

“It is not for sure yet, but I would like to get a month in with some consistent at-bats,” Flowers said. “It is more about the offensive side and being able to fine tune my hitting approach. It might not be a bad idea to go out there and get 100 at-bats. I want to get comfortable playing every day again.”

Flowers is not sure what Pierzynski’s plans are, but he feels his time is coming to play every day.

“It is that time in my career and hopefully in the organization where they might go a different direction,” he said. “If A.J. were in my shoes right now he would (play winter ball) too. A.J. and his play have rubbed off on me in the best possible way, now I hope I can get a chance to put some of that knowledge to work.”

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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