CHICAGO – Tyler Flowers understands he didn’t put himself in a good position to prevent a position battle.
The White Sox’s Opening Day catcher has spent a lot more time on the bench after Josh Phegley was called up from Triple-A Charlotte on July 5. Since then, Phegley has earned the majority of playing time, starting 13 games of the Sox’s 18 games since his major league debut. But Flowers, hitting .208 this season, took advantage of a rare start Thursday against Detroit. He went 2 for 4 with a double, home run and two RBIs in the Sox’s 7-4 win.
“I probably didn't feel quite as comfortable as it looked but I'm just trying to compete, just trying to go up there and put the ball in play and hopefully something good will happen,” Flowers said.
Flowers’ double and home run both came off Tigers starter Justin Verlander, who gave up seven runs in six innings, and the 27-year-old did a good job recovering from his first at-bat against the hard-throwing right hander when struck out on four pitches. Flowers’ nine home runs are tied for third most on the Sox.
“My first at-bat he made me look like an idiot … after that first at-bat, I was thinking it might be a long day,” Flowers said. “But I was fortunate he threw me a couple pitches I could hit and I was able to hit them.”
Crain suffers setback: Time is running out for the White Sox to showcase reliever Jesse Crain.
Crain (strained right shoulder) hoped to throw off a mound Thursday, however his shoulder didn’t feel good enough for a bullpen after playing catch. Crain said he wasn’t able to fully warm up his arm and it didn’t feel great during long toss. Crain planned to talk to the Sox trainers and doctors Thursday to determine the next steps, which likely will include rest.
“Obviously, I wanted to be getting better and I obviously wanted to be able to pitch, the most important thing,” Crain said. “It’s always discouraging when you work hard to get back, and it’s not responding.”
Pitching coach Don Cooper labeled it a “slight setback.” With the trade deadline less than a week away, it appears highly unlikely the Sox will be able to activate Crain from the disabled list and prove to interested teams that he is healthy. Crain, who owns a 0.74 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings, is a free agent after this season.
“The first thing on our mind is to keep him healthy,” Cooper said. “It’s disappointing for him and for us not to have him. That’s a big hole on our team in that seventh and eighth inning in the role he was filling so well. He just needs more time.”
Quick hits: The Sox committed their 70th error this season which matched their total from last year, though they needed 64 fewer games to hit that mark. … Nearly 75 percent of the Sox’s games have been decided by three runs or less including Friday’s win. … Paul Konerko’s RBI single in the first inning gave the Sox their first lead in the four-game series against Detroit.