Despite sporadic play, Williams pleased with Flowers' performance

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Despite sporadic play, Williams pleased with Flowers' performance

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Tyler Flowers is in rare territory this season as for the fourth straight game on Saturday he in the White Sox starting lineup.

Normally the backup catcher, Flowers has started since Tuesday in the place of starter A.J. Pierzynski, who is out with a right oblique strain. Pierzynski is expected to return to the lineup on Sunday, manager Robin Ventura said.

But with a chance to play in four straight games, Flowers said he has been able to move on easier after a poor at-bat because he knows there are more to come.

Flowers is 3-for-12 with two doubles and a walk in Pierzynskis absence.

I think Ive gotten into that a little bit more the last couple of days with a couple of days in a row to play to maybe not worry about each at-bat so much, Flowers said. Youre still grinding it out when youre in at-bat, but maybe not carrying it over today or tomorrow. Just kind of letting it go because tomorrow Ill have another chance to get more at-bats and hopefully something good will happen.

Flowers has admitted this season to struggling with the transition from a full-time catcher to the backup role, where he plays once a week. Through 99 games, Flowers has played in 31 games and accrued 81 at-bats. He is hitting .185 with two homers and two RBIs. But Flowers has already been informed by general manager Kenny Williams exactly what is expected of his performance.

Williams pays more attention to the 3.72 ERA Sox pitchers have when hes behind the plate or the fact that Flowers has thrown out nine of 19 stolen base attempts.

All he needs to do is focus on the defensive side of the game and take care of the pitchers when he's asked to, Williams said in an email. He has done just that. He has a tremendous offensive upside, but you will not see it until the day comes where he plays regularly. All he is asked to do offensively right now is work hard to prepare and fight through his AB's just like everyone else. He has given us just what we needed from the position.

Flowers said his primary goal with at-bats is to battle through them and extend them for as long as he can. His results arent what hed prefer, but as long as he makes the pitcher work he is satisfied and can focus on his real duties.

Im sure Kennys been in my shoes before, Flowers said. Not playing every day is a challenge, its hard. Its challenging mentally, physically you usually feel pretty good. But at the same time, seeing live pitching and stuff, mentally being able to handle that failure 70 percent of the time, its more like 80 percent of the time when youre playing once a week. Its something that has been hard to handle, but hearing stuff like that makes it a little bit easier. It eases your mind a little. But again, the No. 1 job is catching the pitchers and doing a good job behind the plate.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk rips Lackey, Swarzak traded, Coop misses Q

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk rips Lackey, Swarzak traded, Coop misses Q

After a wild day at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, Chuck Garfien and Dan Hayes discuss John Lackey hitting four White Sox batters and also play Hawk Harrelson's epic on-air rant directed at the Cubs pitcher.

"Jeff the Sox Fan" appears on the podcast and suggests what he thinks Jose Abreu should have done to Lackey when he was hit for a second time.

While they taped the podcast, Anthony Swarzak was traded to the Brewers. What kind of return did the White Sox get? Garfien also interviews White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper about losing Quintana to the Cubs, why he can't watch Quintana and Chris Sale pitch in different uniform, when some minor leaguers like Reynaldo Lopez will be called up and more.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

How White Sox aggressive deadline strategy paid off in Anthony Swarzak trade

How White Sox aggressive deadline strategy paid off in Anthony Swarzak trade

The White Sox jumped out ahead of a crowded reliever market once again and traded Anthony Swarzak to the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.

The White Sox acquired 25-year-old outfielder Ryan Cordell from the Brewers in exchange for the veteran reliever, a baseball source confirmed. The No. 17 prospect in the Brewers farm system, Cordell was hitting .284/.349/.506 with 10 home runs and 45 RBIs in 292 plate appearances at Triple-A Colorado Springs this season.

A nonroster invitee to big league camp this spring, Swarzak was 4-3 with a 2.23 ERA, one save and 52 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings this season. He’s the third reliever the White Sox have traded since the second half began as they also dealt David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the New York Yankees with Todd Frazier on July 18.

TA free agent after the season, Swarzak has fared extremely well in high-leverage situations, stranding 26 of the 35 runners he had inherited. He pitched in two high-leverage spots in the team’s previous two games, earning his first career save Monday. Swarzak, whose 9.68 strikeouts per nine is a career high, also earned a hold on Sunday in Kansas City.

“I’ve been waiting for that opportunity for a long time,” Swarzak said of Monday’s save. “It’s nice that I went in there and got it done. You think about that moment for years and then it finally happens. You just are trying to take a step back and reflect on what just happened, and I’ll be able to come in tomorrow and be ready to go.”

Two American League scouts said Monday that Swarzak still had good trade value even though he’s viewed as a rental. While he wouldn’t likely net the White Sox a top-150 prospect, they could wrangle a “good” minor-leaguer in a deal. One element that could have potentially derailed the White Sox was an abundance of strong relief options in the market, perhaps as many as 20 pitchers.

[MORE: Carlos Rodon frustrated again after a weird start

After the White Sox traded Robertson and Kahnle, general manager Rick Hahn indicated they moved the pair early in anticipation of a competitive marketplace when they acquired Blake Rutherford and others from the New York Yankees. The Baltimore Orioles are a team that could have wreaked havoc on the relief market if they decide to sell -- something one AL source said they’ve gone back and forth on every day -- because they could flood it with Zach Britton and others.

The move is the third made by the White Sox in a span of two weeks, including the trade of Jose Quintana to the Cubs on July 13. The White Sox still have several veterans on the roster who could draw trade interest, including starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez.

“We are still open for business,” Hahn said last week.

Today’s Knuckleball’s Jon Heyman first reported the deal that sent Swarzak to the Brewers. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal initially reported the teams’ were discussing a trade for Swarzak.