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Shoulder rehab complete, Flowers to start at catcher

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Catcher Tyler Flowers said it was "great to hear" that he's expected to be named the White Sox starting catcher two weeks in advance of Opening Day, admitting that his offseason regimen to return from shoulder surgery often left him wondering if he'd even be ready to take on the role.

Manager Robin Ventura said Sunday that "unless something drastically changes," the starting job belongs to Flowers, who has spent his entire five-year career with the White Sox.

"I'm glad they recognize I'm healthy and I've been working hard to get to this point," Flowers said Monday. "It was kind of questionable in my mind for a little bit during the offseason, 'Can I be ready for the season?' Not to be a starter or anything but can I be ready just to play, I guess I'm proud of myself in that respect, but it's still a long road."

Flowers has appeared in 11 games for the White Sox this spring, batting .231 with a home run and three RBIs. The former 33rd round pick in the 2005 Draft played in 84 games for the White Sox last year, batting .195 before September surgery.

Flowers said there have been days in camp when the shoulder still hurts "a little bit," but says it hasn't affected his throw or velocity from behind the plate. He's spoken to other players who have had the surgery, and he understands that's to be expected.

Backup options are likely Hector Gimenez, Adrian Nieto and Josh Phegley. Flowers said "definitely not," when asked if he expected to be the starter coming into camp.

"When you go out there, any player that's a starter for Opening Day, each day you continue to earn that spot," Flowers said. "It's not guaranteed you're going to start the next day or the next week. In my mind, it's a good start to get the opportunity opening day, but you've got to earn it each and every day. I'm looking forward to the challenge and I'm glad I'm feeling healthy and I'm ready to go."

Joey Nowak is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak.
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