Paul Konerko backs slumping backstop Tyler Flowers
BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media June 14, 2014 8:42PM
Updated: June 14, 2014 9:50PM
Catcher Tyler Flowers went 0-for-4 Saturday, hasn’t had a hit since June 3 and only has two all month. He struck out three times, and his average dropped to .250, but Paul Konerko still has his back and thinks Flowers can get back to where he was before his slump.
“He’s fighting the fight the right way,’’ Konerko said. ‘‘He’s not taking his offense out to the defense. He’s not doing any of that. He’s doing it all right, and you’d like to think if you give it to the game, it’s going to give back.”
Flowers had a chance to get the White Sox back in the game, coming up in the fourth with runners on second and third and two outs, but he grounded out to short to end the threat. Still, Konerko believes in Flowers.
“He’s done a lot of great things behind the plate,’’ Konerko said. ‘‘It always goes back to the hitting, but we’re not in the position we are as a team if he’s not putting the fingers down like he has all year. That has to be noted.”
When right-hander Erik Johnson was optioned to Class AAA Charlotte on April 26, the Sox hoped he would fix what was hurting his performance.
But Johnson’s struggles have continued.
With the Sox, Johnson, 24, went 1-1 with a 6.46 ERA and allowed 27 hits and 15 walks in 232/3 innings. With Charlotte, Johnson is 1-4 with a 6.70 ERA in nine starts. He has walked 29 in 47 innings and has allowed 11 earned runs in his last two starts.
Those struggles confound manager Robin Ventura.
“I don’t see the games; you see the numbers,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘You have people that are watching, and you get reports on him, but when you just see the numbers, it does make you scratch your head because you know he has talent. We’ve seen it. We’ve seen it up here, so to get that combination back where he has the confidence, the location, the ability to do it, that’s when you get that call back up.”
A minor move
The Sox acquired minor-league outfielder Michael Taylor from the Oakland Athletics for right-handed pitcher Jake Sanchez, who was at Class A Kannapolis. Taylor was assigned to Charlotte.