Phegley looks solid as a rock on Sox team that's very shaky
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White Sox catcher Josh Phegley is greeted by third-base coach Joe McEwing after Phegley's home run off Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza during the third inning of an interleague baseball game Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
With scouts packed in Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field to examine talent on two teams already well out of playoff contention — the White Sox and the Cubs — one South Side player doesn't have to worry about his name coming up in trade rumors.
Catcher Josh Phegley has played in only three games with the Sox, but it looks like he's going to be around awhile.
"He was playing great in Triple-A and was able to come up," manager Robin Ventura said. "He went through spring training with us the whole time, so guys are familiar with him, he's familiar with us. He stepped in and kept playing."
Phegley was called up from Class AAA Charlotte on Friday, and he went 1-for-3 and drove in 2 runs that night in the White Sox' 8-3 loss at Tampa Bay.
The 25-year-old Terre Haute, Ind., native was back behind the plate Sunday, and Phegley's solo homer was the only run allowed by Rays starter David Price in a 3-1 Tampa Bay victory.
In Monday night's makeup game, Phegley started the first of what figures to be many home games.
"Just getting the call down in Tampa, it was a really quick hit and it all hit me really fast," Phegley said. "I played down there, and I think coming back here it will be a little more nervous feeling again playing in the first game at home."
On a team in desperate need of something to get excited about, Phegley has instantly become the guy.
In his first at-bat, the 5-foot-10, 220-pounder pulled the Sox into a 1-1 tie with a solo homer off Cubs starter Matt Garza.
"The first home game, you definitely want to get a hit," Phegley said after the White Sox lost to the Cubs 8-2 and were swept in the four-game interleague series. "The home run was nice, but just like the last one it would have been better if we came out on top."
Phegley also showed he has some defensive skills. In the seventh inning, he threw down to first base and picked off Julio Borbon as Starlin Castro struck out.
Besides that, it was another blah game from the White Sox (34-52), who have lost four straight, 10 of their last 12 and 28 of their last 38.
At least the door to Phegley's development on the major-league level is open.
At Charlotte, Phegley was hitting .316 with 18 doubles, 15 home runs and 41 RBI in 62 games when the Sox came calling.
Listed as only the White Sox' No. 15 overall prospect by MLB.com at the beginning of the season, Phegley finally put it all together and showed why he was the No. 38 overall draft pick in 2009.
"I think it started in spring training with some adjustments with hitting," said Phegley, who missed most of the 2010 season with a rare blood disorder. "I have always had some power and the ability to hit the ball to all fields, gap to gap.
"I think it was just to be in the proper hitting position to start with. I chased a lot of pitches out of the zone, lunging, diving, because I wasn't in the right spot to swing the bat.
"Just starting off so well in Charlotte and having a good season to begin with kind of took the pressure off me to kind of just keep playing my game."
Phegley replaces Tyler Flowers, who started the season as the Sox' No. 1 catcher in place of A.J. Pierzynski. Flowers has a .205/.257/.367 hitting line.
"He's not going anywhere," manager Robin Ventura said of Phegley. "Again, he's up here to play and him and Flo are going to both be playing. So it's just one of those where he's not going anywhere."
Given his fast start, it's going to be tough for Ventura to keep the energetic Phegley out of the lineup.
"I think that's just his personality," Ventura said. "It's good to have. Anytime you get a guy like him, you know, he's just one of those guys that's kind of born to be a catcher, I guess.
"He's a tough guy. He's tough-minded. I think tonight it's one of those where he has a good night and it's good to see."
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