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A.J. Pierzynski confident that struggling Sox catcher Tyler Flowers can make it in bigs

Sunday

RANGERS AT WHITE SOX

The facts: 1:10 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.

The starters: Matt Garza (3-1, 4.32 ERA) vs. John Danks (3-10, 4.22).

Updated: September 26, 2013 6:58AM



Tyler Flowers was behind the plate Saturday for his first start in eight games. Hitting struggles (.140 in his last 17 games and .192 overall) have plagued him in his first season since taking over for A. J. Pierzynski, then losing out to rookie Josh Phegley after he was recalled July 5.

“Catching is hard for a lot of ­reasons,’’ said Pierzynski, now a Texas Ranger. “People expect everyone to jump right in and not have any difficulties.

“I like Tyler and we talked for a long time [Friday]. I still think he can be a good player and contribute big things.’’

“I knew in spring trainings that Josh always had a chance to be good, and I know he got off to a good start,’’ he said.

“It’s a tough situation and I feel for [Flowers],’’ he added.

Pierzynski said having a mentor in veteran Tom Prince when he came up with the Minnesota Twins was important.

“I was fortunate to have a veteran guy in Minnesota to soften things. These guys are trying to figure it out together. It’s a tough situation and I feel for them.

“I still think that Tyler can — I don’t know Josh well enough — but I still think Tyler can contribute to a major-league team.

“Taking to him, he’s disappointed, but I still think he can be a major-league player for a long time.’’

Saying thanks

Pierzynski said the video tribute to him that aired Friday was “amazing.’’

“I’m just happy my family was here,’’ he said. “I didn’t know what to do because it was in the middle of the game [the first inning] and my pitcher was warming up. But the way the crowd reacted.

“It was awesome. It was hard to keep from almost tearing up because the crowd was amazing. I think everyone. It was very nice.’’

Bo still knows

Bo Jackson, honored Saturday with MLB’s Beacon of Life Award, said he wouldn’t have changed his decision to play both professional football and baseball. “If I had picked one sport, I would have been doing what the public wanted, not what I wanted,’’ he said. “Do I have any regrets? No.’’

Sox manager Robin Ventura said despite injuries that may have shortened his career, Jackson “was pretty good anyway.

“Having played against him for a year when he was with Kansas City, it’s hard to really describe him to people now—how strong, fast, and how smart of a baseball player he was. He was good regardless. I haven’t seen anybody with his abilities.’’

Email: tginnetti@suntimes.com

Twitter: @toniginnetti



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