Robin Ventura: Tyler Flowers is ahead behind the plate for White Sox
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter February 22, 2014 9:22PM
Updated: March 24, 2014 6:49AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — If there is such a thing as a leading candidate at catcher for the White Sox — and that’s not easy to label after Tyler Flowers batted .195 and Josh Phegley hit .206 last season — manager Robin Ventura said that “more or less” Flowers is the guy for now.
Ventura said Saturday that Flowers likely will catch Chris Sale to start the Cactus League opener Friday against the Dodgers.
“I don’t think it’s [his] to lose,’’ Ventura said. “We know what we get with Tyler, and I like the way he calls games.’’
“Super! I guess that’s good,’’ Flowers said, not reading too much into it. “I still have to get ready either way no matter what position I’m in, no matter where I’m at.’’
Rule 5 draft pick Adrian Nieto, a switch hitter who hasn’t played above high-A ball, also is in the mix and will get playing time so he can be evaluated. If he doesn’t make the 25-man roster, he would have to be offered back to the Nationals.
“The way we got him, we have to see him play,’’ Ventura said.
“He has a little sidesaddle when he catches, so it’s a style that’s a little unique than the norm when you see catchers set up. He has good hands.’’
The Sox seem to be giving Flowers the benefit of the doubt after he played much of last season with a sore shoulder. General manager Rick Hahn wanted to upgrade the position — free agent Brian McCann appealed to him — but he hasn’t found a deal for a catcher that suits his long-range plans.
Flowers is confident in his game-calling and defense.
“I think that’s a big part,’’ he said. “I don’t think people want a guy who hits .330 and doesn’t catch worth a crap and doesn’t care. I think that’s important for this position.’’