Flowers' injury gives Recker chance behind plate

Veteran backstop called up from Triple-A to platoon with Pierzynski

Flowers' injury gives Recker chance behind plate

CINCINNATI -- With Tyler Flowers missing the next four to six weeks with a broken left hand, Braves catcher Anthony Recker is going to get a chance to prove himself.

Recker, called up Wednesday from Triple-A Gwinnett, got his first start on Sunday against the Rockies, catching a seven-inning shutout performance from Julio Teheran. Without Flowers, it looks like the Braves will, at least for now, continue their catching platoon and let Recker get the start against lefties while A.J. Pierzynski will take righties. That means Recker is in line to start the first two in Cincinnati against lefties Brandon Finnegan in the opener on Monday and Cody Reed on Tuesday.

"Let him get the left handers the next couple days and just kind of get a look at him and see what we've got," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I'm just going to take it a day at a time. I liked what I saw yesterday."

Recker has always been a defense-first catcher throughout his six-year career. He'll be challenged right away for Atlanta, catching 24-year-old starter Matt Wisler and 23-year-old rookie Tyrell Jenkins on Monday and Tuesday.

Recker has plenty of experience catching young guys, having spent his last three years catching the young Mets rotation.

"He's been here before," Snitker said. "He's been around, been a very good catch-and-throw guy for a long time, so he'll be a big addition for us."

Recker will have to replace one of the Braves' most productive hitters. Prior to his injury, Flowers was having his best offensive season to date, posting a .253/.343/.425 line with seven homers in 174 at-bats.

While Recker has never had an average in the Majors above .215, he did show some promise in a limited number of games in Gwinnett. Through 136 at-bats, the 32-year-old was hitting .243 with six homers. Against lefties, Recker hit .333 with four dingers.

"He'd been swinging the bat pretty well in Gwinnett," Snitker said. "They made some changes, worked with him a little bit. So I'm going to get him out there three days in a row and see if he can get it going offensively."

Cody Pace is a reporter for based in Cincinnati. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.