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July 14, 2013

Next for Phegley: The art of MLB catching

Learning to handle pitchers and other tools of the trade will come with time

TERRE HAUTE — The world now knows what Terre Haute has known all along.

Josh Phegley can hit. Boy, can he ever.

Three home runs – including a go-ahead grand slam against Detroit on Thursday – punctuated a powerful first week for the Chicago White Sox catcher, who once plied his trade with style for Terre Haute North and Indiana University. He was promoted to the parent club from Triple-A Charlotte on July 5.

Phegley has started all but two games at catcher for the White Sox entering Saturday’s doubleheader against at Philadelphia. His bat has done most of the talking.

Hitting alone will keep Phegley at the major league level for what promises to be a solid career, but for Phegley to truly hone his craft and make All-Star strides at the Major League level he will have to become a complete catcher.

He will have to handle a diverse White Sox pitching staff, he will have to learn the American League lineups inside and out to properly call pitches, and he will have to learn the tendencies of AL baserunners as well. 

And that’s not something that comes easily in the first week of one’s Major League career.

Phegley and the White Sox realize this of course.

“My main purpose being up here is to handle those guys and get them through the game and get comfortable with them and how they like to pitch. You have to handle the other team’s roster and how they like to bat. It’s a big challenge, but I’m ready for the task,” Phegley said last Monday during his home debut at U.S. Cellular Field.

Phegley will be working closely with White Sox bench coach Mark Parent to navigate his way through the nuances of catching. Parent played for 13 years at the Major League level from 1986-98.

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