Q&A: Tyler Flowers discusses his offseason, return of McCann

Braves’ catcher Tyler Flowers met with the media at Chop Fest on Jan. 19 at SunTrust Park. In the interview, he discussed heading into spring training after a quiet offseason for himself. The interview was edited for brevity. 

Q: Are you excited with (Brian) McCann back here and the two of you what you guys could do?

A: Yeah, for sure. I think it’s a good mix and match. I think a lot of things that I don’t possess he does, and vice versa. So I think it’s something that could really work for the benefit of the whole team.

Q: What kind of relationship did you build?

A: Well we knew each other a little bit before that, before I became part of the Braves. From time to time in our older childhood we would run into each other. I think we were both familiar with each other, just because we were both pretty decent growing up. Beyond that, I didn’t really work with him a ton catching wise, specifically, because if you remember way back when I actually played first base, so that was somewhat the start of my transition. 

Q: You had that surgery after last season, so you didn’t really have a normal offseason, has this been a normal one?

A: I haven’t had a normal one in a few years. This one was pretty normal, finally. No major issues, didn’t have anything on the calendar to get cut open, so it was kind of nice to enjoy some holidays with two hands, two feet, two shoulders. So it was good.

» More: Braves re-sign Tyler Flowers with option for 2020

Q: Does that make you feel better about going into spring training knowing you will be 100 percent, rather than still rehabbing something or strengthening your wrist?

A: Yeah I mean, that’s the ultimate goal, the beginning of every off-season is to find a way to get us healthy and feel as good as you can going into the next spring. Like I said this is the first time I’ve had that in four or five years I’d say, there’s seemingly always something. Good thing about the off- season it usually gives you time to correct those things, so fortunately I didn’t have anything to correct this year. 

Q: You mentioned the things you’ve been reading in the offseason, I’m sure you’ve been reading about moves by other teams in the division — Phillies, Mets, Nationals — have all been busy. 

A: I’m familiar with it. I think it’s a good sign, we did some things right in the last few years and last year specifically. They feel like they need to continue to get better, just like we feel we need to as well. So, you know those guys are jumping outside the organization to make big moves, we’re counting on a lot of guys inside, in addition to the couple of moves we made. But I think talent wise we match up with anybody, it’s just a matter of putting in the work, being as consistent as we can, and playing as a team. Which, we have a very unique group of guys. It’s rare to actually have a team genuinely like each other, all 25 guys plus coaches, so I think the chemistry we’ve built over the last couple of years, I think that’s really something you can’t get on the open market.

Q: Is that hard to recapture that year to year? You know, the chemistry every year of the clubhouse can change a little bit with one guy or two guys. I’m just wondering about, can you guys recapture it?

A: I think if you keep the bulk of guys, yeah. I think it’s something that is still there and other guys just fall in, kind of recognize it. It’ll be easy to recognize right away, with the few new guys coming in, they are going to see it right away first day of spring. And they might already see it right now. But yeah I think when you keep the nucleus, the core of the team together, that’s something that can translate year to year. 

Q: Is that important when you see the moves he makes in the offseason? You see that he obviously has that in mind because he doesn’t bring anybody that’s seen as a disruptive guy?

A: I think that’s really undervalued, honestly. You know where I was previously at that was something that wasn’t taken into account near as much as it should have. And I think if you were within clubhouses of teams I’ve been on, it’s obvious when something like that is causing a conflict amongst teammates. So, I think that’s something that is very undervalued for sure. 

Q: Were there some times last year where you took a swing or barreled a bat where you said it’s just not quite all there yet? So many times it takes a full year to recover from a hand or wrist injury.

A: I wouldn’t say that, when you play any sport and specifically baseball with how often we play, you’re going to have things that come up day to day, week to week. When you get older sometimes you just wake up and something hurts for a few days and then it goes away. So I didn’t have any specific reasons or excuses for offensively not performing as well as I wanted or expected. I mean there were a couple of challenges for me throughout the season, the injury opening day didn’t help anything. But it was the hand I was dealt and I tried to do the best I could with it. There was a little bit of bad luck mixed in there too, I felt like a lot of days I hit some balls well. You know they say those even out, but they don’t even out, not always.  

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