Phegley's presence motivation for Flowers
CHICAGO -- There figures to be two or three White Sox positions, at the very least, that general manager Rick Hahn will have to fill or upgrade for the 2014 season. Whether catcher gets added to that list is up to Tyler Flowers and Josh Phegley
Entering Friday's split doubleheader, with Flowers starting Game 1, Flowers was hitting .200 with nine homers and 24 RBIs over 77 games, and Phegley had a .208 average with three homers and 11 RBIs in 23 games. Flowers said with a confident laugh that he thinks next year's starting job will go to him -- or at least, he'll work hard to make that happen -- but quickly added that either one of them could fill the everyday role.
Flowers went as far as to indirectly defend Phegley's 6-for-41 slump with no extra-base hits over the last 13 games.
"He's come in here and done a good job," said Flowers of Phegley. "He's had a lot going on -- first time up here, kind of a lot of things stacked against him. Trying to learn a new staff, trying to learn the league, trying to deal with new coaches and deal with [White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper] and how Coop works with guys.
"There's a lot of information going in and out of his head. Trying to keep up with it, it's been a challenge for him to stay on top of it and be comfortable every day playing. I think he'll probably settle in a little bit better here the next couple of weeks, once we've started seeing teams again we've already seen."
Although he wouldn't go as far as saying he would be disappointed if he wasn't starting somewhere in 2014, Flowers does hope for a level playing field in competing for the job.
"But as you know, what you do on the field matters more than anything," Flowers said. "I didn't do the best I could on the field, and those are the numbers that are going to stick in their heads. It's kind of hard to be too upset about it.
"From my standpoint, since [Phegley's] been up here, I've just been trying to take advantage of the time to try to figure out how to hit again -- basically show that all this extra time, I haven't been sitting on my butt. I work to get better to have another opportunity. That's all you can do.
"I'm going to try to take advantage of each chance I get on the field," Flowers said. "Be as productive as possible and also try to be a good support for Phegley when he's out there."