Backup Flowers working to stay sharp

Chicago White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers may play winter baseball this offseason after spending most of the season backing up A.J. Pierzynski.

The plan in spring training was for Flowers and Pierzynski to share the position. The consensus opinion was that Flowers was ready to be brought along as the starter, with the knowledge that Pierzynski, the Sox’s seven-year starter, would be eligible for free-agent status this November.

Flowers, who will turn 27 in January, is happy to be on a first-place team but is concerned about his future behind Pierzynski, who is having a career year in 2012.

“This has been a challenge as a backup catcher,” Flowers said. “This is a role that I have had to get used to and it is a tough job not playing all the time. I was able recently to get a better offensive plan going, maybe it is just getting a more consistent routine without the live at-bats everyday in games.”

Flowers has had only 96 at-bats in 2012, hitting .219 with three home runs and six RBIs and the possibility that Pierzynski may be back again in 2013 has him contemplating his future. He is looking to at least play a short stint in Latin America this fall just to get a consistent flow to his game again.

“If we win the World Series I am not going anywhere, but otherwise I have to consider getting some rust off and playing every day for a little while,” Flowers said. “That wouldn’t be a bad thing and just getting more live at-bats -- it is not going to hurt you.”

Flowers learned how to prepare for the long major league season by watching Pierzynski, who does extra cardio and weight work and has been an iron man behind the plate.

“A.J. has done it for a long time,” Flowers said. “He does a lot of things right to stay healthy and be as productive he has throughout his career.

“A.J. is here early and then stays late, always with the idea to make himself stronger and more flexible in order to handle the wear and tear of the job.”

Flowers and his wife, Nancy, are expecting their first child next month, which may complicate his winter ball plans.