Starting in his third game since making his major league debut Friday at Tampa Bay, Phegley sent one over the wall for the second consecutive day. And to make sure he was showing a well-rounded game, the catcher guided Hector Santiago to a solid start and even made a snap throw to first base in the seventh inning to nail the Chicago Cubs' Julio Borbon, who was leaning.
What Phegley hasn’t been able to do yet is help the White Sox to a victory as Monday’s 8-2 defeat to the Cubs was the fourth time they have lost in the four days he has been with the team.
All in due time. Phegley wasn’t brought to Chicago to save the White Sox, but he has been a symbol of the start to a rebuilding process that figures to pick up steam once the team starts trading players to contenders.
With a hit in each of his first three starts, the Indiana native is feeling more comfortable every day.
“I think it'd be a lot more rough if I didn't have any hits yet,” Phegley said. “Just coming out, it's good to show that I can produce and put up some runs for our team. Obviously, I've hit two solo home runs but I'd like to get that hit with the guy on base, especially 3-0 with the green light.”
Yes, the White Sox allowed Phegley to swing away with a 3-0 count in the fifth inning with Alexei Ramirez on second base, but he grounded out to shortstop. Just the fact that he had the green light, though, was a sign of the trust the coaching staff already has in the young kid.
“Yeah, let him swing the bat,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s swinging it pretty good. At that point, we didn’t have much really going. Let him swing it. You will learn and find out if he can do that in the future.”
He might have been around for just four days, but Phegley still knows what it is all about. He can hit all the home runs he wants, but he knows that until the team starts winning his celebrations will be tempered.
“We've lost a few in a row, and coming in here this is my first home game,” Phegley said. “I definitely wanted to get a win for us. The home run was nice, but just like the past one I hit, it'd be a lot better if we'd come out on top. We'll see what we can do on the road.”
There is no doubt he has brought in a different energy. His confidence is striking on a team that hasn’t been walking very tall of late.
“He's been doing a good job, he's swinging it well, back-picking to first and stuff like that,” Santiago said. “Little things like that help out and get us going in the dugout and on the field, get a little jump or energy, kickstart us or something like that. Definitely, he's been hitting the ball well and for the most part doing everything that he needs to do.”
Asked if Phegley is starting to earn more playing time behind the plate over Tyler Flowers, Ventura wouldn’t commit to that, saying, “He’s not going anywhere. He’s up here to play and him and Flow are going to both be playing.”
But the fact that he has found his stride so quickly has said volumes for a guy that had been chosen to play in the Futures Game and the Triple-A All-Star Game. He won’t play in either now that he is in the major leagues.
“Yeah, I think that’s just his personality,” Ventura said. “I don’t think he’s trying to do anything different than the kind of player that he is. 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.”