Flowers set for rehab assignment, Suzuki handling heavy workload

Braves catcher Tyler Flowers could rejoin the Braves at some point during their coming road trip, but first he’ll spend some time with the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers.

Flowers, who strained an oblique on opening day, will begin a rehab assignment with the Stripers on Monday at Rochester (N.Y.). He’ll stay with the Triple-A team for that entire series through Wednesday, then catch a homestand opener Friday at Gwinnett, Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

At that point, Flowers and the Braves will reassess the situation. Snitker said that up to a two-week injury-rehab schedule of games has been mapped out for the 32-year-old veteran, if he needs it.

“But I don’t think it’s going to take that long,” Snitker said. “And it’s going to be up to him, how he feels, where he’s at, all that after the fourth game. He may feel like he needs a couple more (games). There’s no timetable really. We’ll just see how he feels and reacts. Because he hasn’t had game conditions, torquing a bat or taking a pitch or anything like that. As he does all that we’ll see how he feels.”

Flowers and Kurt Suzuki were one of the majors’ best offensive catching tandems in 2017. Flowers was injured on opening day, and Suzuki was hurt a day later when hit in the hand by a pitch.

But after missing four games, 34-year-old Suzuki started 10 of the next 13 games, including seven of the past eight before getting a break Saturday when catcher Carlos Perez made his fifth start.

Suzuki hit .311 with a .400 on-base percentage and .578 slugging percentage in 15 games before Saturday, including 11-for-29 (.379) with three homers, nine RBIs and a 1.222 OPS in his past eight games, including five Braves wins.

He also made a terrific play at the plate Friday, when Suzuki corraled a slightly off-target throw from left fielder Preston Tucker and lunged to tag out the Mets’ Wilmer Flores in the sixth inning.

“The elements have been such that we haven’t been in a lot of heat to beat him down,” Snitker said of Suzuki’s heavy workload with Flowers out. “So I think he’s been really good. He’s done a really good job.”