Ramon Castro's hand is all jacked-up, man. Mark Buehrle threw a fastball at the hand that didn't have a glove on it, and now Ramon is projected to miss the rest of the season. As left-handed pitchers across the AL breathe a sigh of relief, the sad tuba blows for Blastro.
Having the ability to inject a .900 OPS hitter into the dreary White Sox lineup 1-2 times a week was a nice boost, and maybe if properly deployed Castro's bat could close in on being a win better than a garden-variety craptacular backup catcher. Now it's gone.
That means the once catcher-of-the-future Tyler Flowers has found a foothold on the major league roster for the rest of 2011. It also very likely means spotty at-bats for Tyler Flowers for the rest of 2011, and it even more strangely makes Tyler the only positional prospect to break through despite having his progress discussed in pretty reserved tones by Buddy Bell earlier this season. Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza sit in Charlotte, the strikeout-plagued (32%) Flowers with reverse platoon splits (.695 OPS vs. LH/.961 OPS vs RH) has a roster spot. This season should be looked back on with a whimsical eye.
Flowers may not be ready for primetime, or even especially good at the moment. But he was raking for a lot of power (.261/.390/.500 with 15 HR in 222 ABs) in Charlotte at the time of his call-up, can't be that much worse than the other men being offered up for slaughter on a daily basis. Finally, if there's any consideration of Flowers still being the future at the catcher position--and there may not be--one would think there'd be some effort to get him regular work.
Unfortunately, with A.J. Pierzynski one of the few White Sox hitters fighting a competitive battle against the league average, he can't really have his starts reduced while the team remains in the race (and who knows what happens if the White Sox don't have that problem anymore). It does appear that Dunn seems to be due to sit against more left-handers, which would give the Sox an opportunity to see if Tyler can hit better than this year's lefty splits indicate, and avoid pointless actions like DH-ing Alexei Ramirez. Or he could be haphazardly thrown at 1st base to give Konerko a day off, but that would probably be a disaster, and those days might be owed to Mark Teahen anyway.
Given the scarcity of work Flowers is facing, the White Sox would have probably called upon Donny Lucy if they really thought he needed everyday development. At this point, he's 25 years old, and has kicked around at Triple-A for almost 200 games at this point. The White Sox may have reached a point where they want to see something of significance or start making other plans.
This isn't the best of opportunities, but may be the best one Tyler has coming. If he can have some success in the middle of a heated division race, it'll do a lot more than going bonkers in Spring Training accomplished in just as small a sample size.