Ozzie not ready to concede to callups
Skipper won't give Flowers, Fields playing time right away
MINNEAPOLIS -- Don't look for a September callup such as Tyler Flowers to get regular at-bats any time in the near future for the White Sox.
Although Flowers is considered a rising star in the organization and a top prospect, playing the young catcher is not the best way for the White Sox to keep their fledgling playoff hopes alive. And manager Ozzie Guillen believes those playoffs hopes still exist.
"If I do that, then I give up, and I'm not going to give up," said Guillen of going extremely young within his lineup during the final month. "I don't care. If they give up, that's their problem. I never will give up.
"When we are out, then we play the kids. I hope I don't have to play them. But when we get to that point, we will play the kids."
The White Sox entered Wednesday afternoon's Metrodome finale sitting seven games behind the first-place Tigers in the American League Central, their largest deficit this season, and have fallen 3 1/2 games behind the Twins for second. But putting players such as Flowers or even Josh Fields into the lineup is not yet the solution, in Guillen's educated opinion.
A lack of immediate playing time for Flowers, though, does not mean September won't become a valuable learning experience for the burly backstop. Pitching coach Don Cooper pointed out how he loves Flowers' setup in the bullpen and how Flowers will get the chance to catch as many of Chicago's hurlers as possible to get him acclimated with their stuff.
It's an educational process Flowers eagerly anticipated upon his arrival.
"I'm excited to be here and I'm going to soak in the atmosphere, how these guys do it every day," said Flowers, who hit .297 with 15 home runs and 56 RBIs between 2009 stops at Triple-A Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham. "I felt like I picked up a lot this year. I got more and more comfortable back there catching."
"We talked a little bit about how we're going to handle the rest of the time with him," Cooper said. "We're going to make this as much about learning/fun for the next 30 days as we can with him. We're going to talk about all these guys -- their strengths, their weaknesses, what they like, what they don't, and certainly some information we have on the hitters from other teams. Hopefully, he can store all of that in the memory bank when it's his turn to come up here for good."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.