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White Sox notebook, 9/6

September 6, 2011

Flowers: Gem fun for ‘everybody but me’

By Jordan Schelling / MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — If anyone on the White Sox was not enjoying right-hander Zach Stewart’s bid for perfection on Monday night, it was catcher Tyler Flowers.As the one tasked with calling the game behind the plate, the pressure of making all the right calls to keep Stewart’s perfect game intact made for a stressful situation.

“It was fun for probably everybody but me. It was pretty stressful back there. I didn’t want to screw up and cause something bad to happen,” Flowers said.

“Now that it’s over, it was a lot of fun. … But he trusted in me the whole game, and that’s pretty good.”

Even though Flowers is now able to enjoy Stewart’s one-hitter, in which the right-hander retired 27 of the 28 batters he faced, the White Sox catcher did make one call that he could question.

Facing Twins third baseman Danny Valencia to lead off the eighth inning, Flowers and Stewart went with a 2-2 sinker off the plate for the eighth pitch of the at-bat. Valencia reached out and slapped the pitch a few inches off the plate and sliced it into right field for a double and the Twins’ lone baserunner.

“Now I do,” Flowers said of if he second-guessed himself. “But at the time, I thought that was the pitch to go with. We sped him up inside on a couple. [Valencia] was on the slider. [Stewart] had a good sinker all day. So go with what got you there. Sinker away.

“I was hoping we were going to freeze him. It was a little bit off the plate, too. It was a good pitch he hit. Tip your hat to Danny. He did a good job of putting the ball in play.”

Konerko given a breather against Twins

MINNEAPOLIS — After playing in each of the past 30 games for the White Sox, first baseman Paul Konerko got a day off Tuesday in the third game of their series against the Twins.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he tried to keep Konerko out of one of the games of Monday’s day-night doubleheader, but Konerko opted for the full day off instead. He should return to the lineup for Wednesday’s series finale at Target Field.

“I think today’s perfect because tomorrow we have a night game,” Guillen said. “This kid has been playing every day.”

Konerko last sat out when he missed three games in early August with a calf injury. Over the last month, Konerko has batted .333 with three home runs, 16 RBIs and an OPS of .930.

Adam Dunn started at first base and went 0-1 with three walks and a run scored in the club’s 3-0 win.

Axelrod hopes to get jump on Spring Training

MINNEAPOLIS — When he was not among the first group of September callups for the White Sox, right-hander Dylan Axelrod figured he would not be joining the big league club for the season’s final month.

But to his surprise, he got the call on Monday to pack his bags and join the team at Target Field.

“I knew I had a really good, solid year, but after the initial callups, it did come as a surprise,” Axelrod said. “I thought I was going home, and then yesterday I woke up, got a call at 11 a.m., had to go over to the field, get all my stuff, and I had a 1:50 p.m. flight.”

Axelrod arrived between games of the day-night doubleheader and suited up for the White Sox against the Twins for the nightcap.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen did not need to call upon his bullpen Monday night with Zach Stewart tossing a one-hitter, but Axelrod could get in a game soon with the White Sox bullpen having been overworked lately.

When he does see game action, Axelrod will be making his Major League debut.

“I just hope to make a good impression,” Axelrod said. “It is a building block for Spring Training next year, and as I try to come out and try to make the team next year. I’ll be ready whenever they tell me they need me.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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