03/23/10 6:08 PM ET
Flowers to work on offense at Triple-A
Defense on the rise, catcher tasked with improving bat
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
2010 Spring Training - Major League Baseball
News & Features
- AL Cy Young a choice between wins, stats
- Steinbrenner mum on Jeter timetable
- DeWitt cautiously optimistic Pujols will re-sign
- Those with strong rotations best suited for '11
- Selig, general managers discuss labor issues
Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
Walker explained that Flowers worked extremely hard this past winter, and the White Sox let him come into Spring Training, not thinking he was going to make the team with Pierzynski and Ramon Castro in place, and take those early at-bats to see where he stood. After a couple of weeks, Flowers realized he didn't feel good with what he was doing."There are some things mechanically he needs to clean up, but that's what Triple-A is for," Walker said. "I still believe he's got a chance. I don't think he's that far off, and I love his talent." "That happens sometimes when guys go home and they work with their own individual hitting instructors and they aren't necessarily qualified instructors to teach Major Leaguers how to hit Major League pitchers," Williams said. "He and Walk talked about it and worked very diligently to try to correct those mistakes." While the offensive side of Flowers' game has temporarily dipped, he has definitely developed behind the plate. Flowers calls a better game, has shown more accurate throws on stolen-base attempts and has received valuable Spring Training refresher courses by working with Minor League catching instructor John Orton. Daniel Hudson, who remains in big league camp and continues fighting for the last bullpen slot, has worked in a number of batteries with Flowers over the past year. Hudson has observed the knowledge Flowers gained of his pitching style simply through repetition. "If he can start catching everyone like that, he'll get a feel," said Hudson. "He's a smart kid and it doesn't take long for him to learn what people like to throw in certain counts. That's what catching is all about, just to know what we are strong with and confident with, especially in certain counts to certain hitters." "His intellect and his wanting more and more information as to how to handle pitching staffs has really impressed us," Williams said. "We thought that all along, so that's not a surprise." Struggling with the bat has been the only surprise where Flowers is concerned, and it still has to play out as to how those struggles could affect the team's catching future. Pierzynski, as durable and astute as any catcher in the game, would become a free agent after the 2010 campaign without a new deal. A belief still exists in Flowers' ability, but changes definitely need to be made at Charlotte. The confidence factor for Flowers, who came to camp with a goal to unseat Pierzynski as the starter, albeit not very realistic, has not changed. "Something happens today and I'm more than confident to go," Flowers said. "It is what it is. I'll keep working on things, and if the opportunity comes along in-season, I'll be ready." "On the offensive side, it's probably the most concerning," Williams said. "He's got that kind of ability [to be an everyday player], but he's going to have to get back to some of the basics."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.