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Flowers in position for second Opening Day start

GLENDALE -- White Sox manager Robin Ventura wouldn't go as far as to state the starting catcher's job is Tyler Flowers' to lose before Cactus League action even begins. But it clearly looks as if last year's Opening Day starter behind the plate has a strong chance to repeat such an honor this year based upon Ventura's comments Saturday after the team's workout.

"More or less," Ventura said. "We know what we get with Tyler, and I like the way he calls games."

Flowers will be behind the plate Friday against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch, making the pitch calls for staff ace Chris Sale in the White Sox Cactus League opener. Flowers homered in support of Sale for the only run in last year's regular-season 1-0 opener, but fortunes went downhill from there.

His shoulder soreness eventually led to September surgery, and his .195 average over 256 at-bats made his first year as a starter one to forget. Flowers isn't dwelling much on 2013.

"Most of us are trying to forget about last season and recognize some areas that hurt us last year personally and as a team and improve on those," Flowers said. "Other than that, I'm not thinking about it and I'm sure nobody else is either."

While the 28-year-old expects better results offensively, he knows that part of his game has to be separated from the most important aspect of handling the pitchers.

"I don't think people want a guy who hits .330 and doesn't catch worth a [darn] and doesn't care," Flowers said. "That's important for this position specifically. All positions, that's important too, but this one probably a little bit more than the others."

"Being able to separate it, some people are better at doing it than others, and he got to a point last year where it wore on him, and then injuries kind of took it from there," Ventura said. "The emphasis really for him, coming in here, he feels better offensively. He feels healthy, and No. 1 is how you handle the game, the pitchers, so you go from there."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.
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