Sox Drawer: Flowers coming up roses

Sox Drawer: Flowers coming up roses

April 3, 2013, 7:15 pm
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A.J. Pierzynski didn't want to leave. Tyler Flowers didn't want to replace Pierzynski. He preferred to be the guy to replace the guy who replaced Pierzynski.

Who wouldn't?

But while the groundhog saw his shadow and incorrectly predicted spring, Flowers sees Pierzynski's shadow, and if this keeps up, it could be an interesting summer.

That's two home runs in the first two games for Flowers. He's just the seventh White Sox hitter to accomplish that feat, joining the likes of Paul Konerko, Jim Thome, Carlos Lee and someone named Bill Melton -- that gray-haired man I sit next to on White Sox Pre and Postgame Live.

I jokingly asked Adam Dunn if Flowers might hit more home runs than him this season. Dunn rolled his eyes, paused and answered, "So far..."

So far, so good -- especially considering the weight Flowers is probably carrying trying to replace a White Sox icon like Pierzynski.

"I know how much pressure he's probably been putting on himself following a guy like A.J. who obviously did a lot of great things here," Dunn said about Flowers. "Anytime you come in and take over for a guy, you want to go out and jump out to a great start, and lot of times you put too much pressure on yourself. He hasn't done that so far, obviously. He's done everything. He's called two great games and also won us a couple."

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So what does Flowers think about the home run buzz he's created? Not much.

"I guess it's good. I'd be just as happy with some line drives, hits or outs," said the White Sox backstop. "I'm just looking for quality at-bats right now."

Flowers might be a catcher, but he's built like a linebacker. So a word of warning to the baseball: If Flowers connects, you're going for a ride.

"He's doing a lot of good things up there," Konerko explained. "He's such a strong kid. As long as he's swinging at strikes. Really that's it. His swing is good and he's so strong he's going to hit home runs. It's just that simple."

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While mourning the loss of Pierzynski, most White Sox fans didn't believe that Flowers was ready for the full-time job. He batted .213 with seven home runs and 13 RBIs in 2012. He also struck out 56 times in 136 at-bats. But there's a big difference between playing everyday versus once a week. The White Sox were convinced that Flowers just needed the chance.

"Every time someone asks me about him, I tell them they're going to be surprised," said Addison Reed, who has collected two saves in the first two games. "People have kind of questioned his batting, but in these first two days you see what he can do."

That includes what Flowers does behind the plate.

"He's one of the best guys who's ever caught me," Reed said. "I have a lot of fun throwing to him. I know what he's throwing down is what he truly believes can get the hitter out. I have 100 percent confidence in what he's calling and I love throwing to him."

But before we give him a spot on the All-Star team and annoint him the next Carlton Fisk, Flowers provided this reminder:

"It's just two games."

But not a bad start.