KANSAS CITY -- Kevin Youkilis already has become a fan favorite on the South Side of Chicago in just his 15th game with his new club.
But with the White Sox set to visit Fenway Park for four games starting on Monday, pregame talk on Saturday briefly turned to the third baseman's Red Sox return.
Youkilis was traded from the Red Sox for Brent Lillibridge and Zach Stewart on June 24, with Boston picking up $5.6 million of his remaining contract.
"When Boston comes, it comes," Youkilis said. "We'll probably talk about it all four days we're there."
Talk prior to Saturday's game against the Royals centered on Youkilis' 14-pitch at-bat in the 14th inning Friday night, with the veteran eventually delivering the go-ahead sacrifice fly against Everett Teaford for a 9-8 win. It marked the eighth straight game in which Youkilis had at least one RBI and was his fifth game-winning RBI with the White Sox.
In that game-deciding situation, the key for Youkilis was approaching the at-bat as if he was swinging in the first or fourth innings. That sort of similar focus helps make Youkilis so successful in the clutch.
"You just have to battle, hope you get a pitch and stick with it," Youkilis said. "You don't change your approach. You just shorten up a little bit and try to put the ball in play.
"We change our approach at times, and you might have success once in a while, but over the long haul you're going to find failure. So just bear down, especially in extra innings. Guys are trying to end the game with a home run and that's not what you need sometimes. You just need to get on base. Baseball's funny: some days you have it and some days you don't."
Flowers looks to grow in limited catching role
KANSAS CITY -- Tyler Flowers looked at his statistical line from 2012 heading into Saturday's start at Kauffman Stadium, and the 26-year-old saw a .163 average with just two homers, two RBIs and 29 strikeouts. His 0-for-3 showing during the 6-3 loss actually dropped his average to .156.
Flowers also finds just 64 at-bats as the backup to A.J. Pierzynski, one of the steadiest and most productive catchers in all of baseball, and knows that this limited showing doesn't predict his chance for future success with the bat on a more full-time basis.
"I don't see how it possibly could. And if it does, that's a pretty unfair statement based off of  at-bats," Flowers said. "I obviously want to play more, but at the same time, it's a good team and there's a good catcher in front of me who is swinging the bat really well and he's catching well. I accept my role of playing once per week or whatever.
"They know it kind of goes hand and hand where playing once a week, I won't be able to hit .300 or even .250. I feel like I should be doing better than what I'm doing. But at the same time, you can't replace live at-bats and timing."
Flowers continues tinkering with his approach, trying to give him the best chance for success in the few opportunities he has. He believes the offensive woes aren't a matter of a timing problem, but more about "missing the ball."
"Everyone goes through it. I just need to get out of it quickly," said Flowers, who is 2-for-29 with 16 strikeouts in his last 14 games. "I'm working on that trend of flattening out my swing more, so to speak, to try to promote a little more contact. When I put the ball in play, I have pretty good numbers. When you don't, you don't have a chance for those good numbers."
The White Sox have told Flowers they are happy with how he has handled his role, according to the backup backstop, focusing on the pitchers and calling the game. Flowers also revels in being part of such a close-knit team and enjoys a strong working bond with Pierzynski.
As for Flowers possibly taking over in 2013 and beyond for Pierzynski, whose two-year extension ends after the 2012 campaign, that topic remains open-ended. It's hard to imagine not bringing back a franchise staple such as Pierzynski, especially with his 16 homers and 50 RBIs in 2012, but Flowers won't spend time trying to figure out the future.
"If you know, you can tell me. I mean, I have no idea," said Flowers of his future role. "A.J. has been a big part of this franchise for a while and he's having a great year. So I really have no idea what the future holds. I'm happy to be up here and part of this team.
"It's a real special group of guys. We have a good time every day and that's what makes it fun to be a backup catcher, even though I don't play as much as I want."
Reed's short memory serving him well
KANSAS CITY -- For just the second time in 15 opportunities, rookie Addison Reed failed to close out a White Sox victory on Friday night.
Reed pointed to getting behind hitters and having them sit on his fastball as the 12th-inning problem against the Royals. But in Reed's mind, that game is history and Saturday had the potential to present another chance for a save.
"Yeah, it's part of the game. It's going to happen. Just forget about it," Reed said. "Today, there's nothing I can do about yesterday."
Eight rookies dot the White Sox pitching staff, but none of them have a higher-pressure job on a daily basis than Reed. Yet, the White Sox standing atop the American League Central or the time of the season as August and September fast approach, don't seem to bother the unflappable right-hander.
"It's the same thing. I don't look at it any different," Reed said. "I just go out there and throw the ball, and it's the same every time I'm out there.
"The more I think, the more trouble I get into. I just try to throw strikes and not worry about who we are playing and what place we are in. I just take it one pitch at a time."
Third to first
Dylan Axelrod still is scheduled to start on Tuesday at Fenway Park, with Philip Humber following on Wednesday. Axelrod's two innings of work in Friday's 14-inning affair could lead manager Robin Ventura to flip-flop him with Humber, but the White Sox will wait to see how Axelrod responds and how long the starters last over the next few games.
"It's subject to change," Ventura said. "But it's pretty much the same right now."
Ventura celebrated his 45th birthday on Saturday. White Sox TV analyst Steve Stone turned 65 on the same day.
The White Sox became the first team in baseball history to use eight rookie pitchers in a game during Friday's 14-inning victory, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The previous mark was seven by Detroit on Sept. 7, 2003, at Toronto.
Flowers has thrown out 52.9 percent of attempted basestealers this season, after going 1-for-2 in Saturday's loss.