Tyler Flowers hasn’t given up the idea he can again be the White Sox starting catcher.
With Josh Phegley playing almost every day, Flowers is trying to be constructive with his free time. Flowers, who hit his ninth home run and doubled in Thursday’s win, wants to remind the White Sox why they named him the starting catcher last offseason. So even though Phegley has performed well for the last three weeks, Flowers doesn’t want to give in easily.
“I don’t think the starting job is gone,” Flowers said. “Not that he’s not doing great and not that he’s not having success, but I’m confident in my own abilities in that I can help this team win just as much or more. But again it comes back to being in a good position to give yourself a chance.”
To put himself in an improve spot, Flowers continues to work with bench coach Mark Parent on his blocking and receiving skills. He also has worked with the hitting coaches to continue to solidify his approach at the plate.
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Even though Flowers had some success with the bat in June, he didn’t get the barrel of the bat on as many pitches as he wanted. He and Jeff Manto have worked to improve his mechanical position to maximize his output.
It’s all part of his plan to remind the organization he’s still here and not ready to be a backup for the rest of his career, regardless what they think.
“I’m not looking at it like I’m the backup catcher because I don’t view it that way,” Flowers said. “I don’t know if they necessarily view it that way either. But again, the objective right now with not playing as much as I’d like to is continuing to work hard to give them the reason to play me more and show them that ‘Hey, I’m working hard, I’m figuring some things out and I can help this team win.’ ”
Beckham back in lineup
Gordon Beckham will start and bat eighth on Friday after he missing the team’s last five games with a strained left wrist. Beckham hit soft toss on Wednesday and took ground balls on Thursday and said his wrist, while it has some soreness, hasn’t worsened.
“It’s some soreness but no pain, so it’s go time,” Beckham said. “I don’t know if it got a ton better and then today just getting ready for the game it feels OK. I’m close to healthy. There’s definitely some soreness there but I feel a lot better than I did last weekend so we’ll go from there.”
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White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he’s convinced Beckham is fine by the way he handled the glove in a pregame infield session on Thursday. Beckham previously had shown signs his wrist bothered him when he received throws at second base.
“That was part of not having him in there the last couple of days,” Ventura said. “When he first did it you could see him compensate for it on throws down to second, things like that. So that was more the compensation, making sure he defensively felt comfortable and he could make those plays. And I think even at the plate I think you have to change something in your swing to be able to play and it's just not worth it at this point.”
No-no for Rienzo
Andre Rienzo struck out 11 in a seven-inning no-hitter for Triple-A Charlotte on Thurday night. In his last four starts, Rienzo is 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings. The last time Ventura saw Rienzo was right before the right-hander joined Brazil in Japan for the World Baseball Classic, an outing that didn’t go too well.
“You see that sharp curveball, and some command, pretty high energy guy,” Ventura said. “It's fun to see him go out there and enjoy it and you're happy for him having a no-hitter. He's probably got to a point where he's improved from where he was in spring training.”