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Snitker, Flowers talk positioning at plate

Braves manager wants catcher to move up while awaiting throws
MLB.com @mlbbowman

NEW YORK -- After talking to Tyler Flowers, Braves manager Brian Snitker is confident that whenever possible, his veteran catcher will now choose to stand in front of home plate while preparing to receive a throw from one of Atlanta's infielders or outfielders.

Flowers was scrutinized after he opted to stand behind the plate to receive center fielder Ender Inciarte's throw during the decisive six-run seventh inning in the Braves' 6-0 Opening Day loss Monday. The Atlanta catcher said he had come to prefer standing behind the plate because he felt it provided him a better opportunity to react to bad bounces.

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NEW YORK -- After talking to Tyler Flowers, Braves manager Brian Snitker is confident that whenever possible, his veteran catcher will now choose to stand in front of home plate while preparing to receive a throw from one of Atlanta's infielders or outfielders.

Flowers was scrutinized after he opted to stand behind the plate to receive center fielder Ender Inciarte's throw during the decisive six-run seventh inning in the Braves' 6-0 Opening Day loss Monday. The Atlanta catcher said he had come to prefer standing behind the plate because he felt it provided him a better opportunity to react to bad bounces.

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Though Flowers went into great detail as he spoke to reporters after the game, his reasoning continued to baffle Braves coaches and executives, who believe he would have had a better chance to record an out had he received Inciarte's throw in front of the plate. Wilmer Flores was originally ruled out on the bang-bang play, but the Mets gained a 1-0 lead when a replay review reversed the original ruling.

"I talked to Tyler; if he had to do it again, he probably would go at it differently," Snitker said. "You just kind of set up on the plate to get the baserunner at the back of the plate. In talking to him, it's like he was probably farther off than what he was trying to accomplish. With that kind of play, if he had it to do over again, I think he'd be up on the plate."

Flowers was not in the starting lineup Wednesday night, but Snitker said this decision was not made in response to what occurred Monday.

Snitker had planned to start Flowers in each of this week's three games against the Mets and then put Kurt Suzuki in the lineup Friday, when he's scheduled to begin his role as knuckleballer R.A. Dickey's primary catcher. But because the Braves have played just two games over the past week and face the possibility of having weather postpone Friday's game, the Braves' skipper opted to play Suzuki on Wednesday.

"I just want to get him out there," Snitker said. "I didn't want it to be a week or 10 days before he catches again."

As things stand, Snitker plans to alternate starts for Flowers and Suzuki this weekend in Pittsburgh. But he hasn't determined exactly how he will divvy up the playing time once the season gets into full swing.

"Once we get going and get everybody stretched out, there will be plenty of work for both of them," Snitker said.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Atlanta Braves, Tyler Flowers