Flowers forced to exit with strained left hand

July 9th, 2016
Tyler Flowers has been the Braves' primary catcher since the final week of May. (AP)

CHICAGO -- Tyler Flowers certainly wasn't encouraged by the way his left hand felt following Saturday's 5-4 loss to the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. But the Braves catcher hopes next week's All-Star break will provide him enough time to heal before the season's second half resumes on Friday.

"At the current moment, it feels terrible," Flowers said. "So, I wouldn't expect me to get out there tomorrow."

Flowers exited Saturday's game in the third inning with what the Braves are currently describing as a strained left hand. This is the same hand that was struck by the first of the two pitches Marlins closer A.J. Ramos hit Flowers with last weekend.

While Flowers will almost certainly be unavailable for Sunday's series finale against the White Sox, his status heading into the second half will not be clear until he is evaluated by the Braves' medical staff on Monday in Atlanta.

"I think if we give him tomorrow, by Friday, I think he should be fine," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I'm sure we'll have our guys look at him when he gets back to Atlanta on Monday. You never know with hands. There are so many of those small bones in there. But preliminary [tests] show it's just a strain. I think they feel he'll be OK."

Flowers aggravated his hand when he took a check swing before grounding out in the top of the second inning. Though he was feeling discomfort, he remained in the game until the White Sox began the bottom half of the same inning with three consecutive hits, including Todd Frazier's two-run homer off Julio Teheran.

"It was just real uncomfortable and painful right there after, so I was just seeing if I could at least catch another inning or two," Flowers said. "But the impact at that moment, with it being freshly aggravated, it wasn't very comfortable."

Flowers, who played for the White Sox from 2009-15, has served as Atlanta's primary catcher since the final week of May. He has hit .286 with four home runs over his past 16 games.

A.J. Pierzynski caught the remainder of Saturday's game, and he was already slated to start Sunday's series finale. If the Braves choose to only use Flowers on an emergency basis on Sunday, utility man Brandon Snyder could be used as Pierzynski's primary backup for one day. Snyder was drafted as a catcher and spent and began his pro career behind the plate.

When Pierzynski entered the game, he received a loud ovation from the White Sox fans who called him one of their own from 2005-12. Flowers did not receive a similar reception from this group during this weekend's series.

"At least one of the former White Sox got applause instead of boos," Flowers. "That was nice to hear."