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June 24, 2013

Phegley shines as Knights down Indians

Many wondering why Terre Haute native hasn’t been called up to major league

INDIANAPOLIS — Josh Phegley didn’t do anything to hurt his chances of being promoted to the major leagues Sunday at Victory Field.

But if you are one of those who wonder why he isn’t already there … well, you’re not alone. He’s hearing the question quite a bit, Phegley said after his Charlotte Knights posted a come-from-behind 6-2 win over the Indianapolis Indians.

The Knights and the Indians are triple-A teams, one step away from the majors. Phegley’s performance this year, his second full season with the Knights after also spending part of 2011 there, would seem to indicate there’s not much more he can accomplish at that level.

On Sunday, for example, he had two hits, including a solo homer that capped his team’s five-run ninth-inning rally, and he also threw out two runners trying to steal.

The Knights’ catcher leads his team in batting (by more than 40 points, at .325), homers (13, next-best being 6), total bases, runs scored, times being hit by a pitch and the big three — on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS (.989, 150 points ahead of anyone else).

So what has he heard about moving up?

“I’m not really hearing much,” Phegley said after the game. “[The Chicago White Sox, his parent club] try not to give us much information.”

Learning to deal with that situation is probably why he’s doing so well this year, the Terre Haute North High School graduate added.

“You can’t get your expectations too high,” he explained. “You just keep playing for the team you’re with now. I do what I can to help [the Knights] win.”

Except for the fact that the Knights aren’t the White Sox, it’s a good situation, Phegley indicated.

“Everyone is in good spirits; we have a good team,” he said, “and it’s always better when you’re winning.”

Charlotte’s victory Sunday, which snapped a 37-0 streak for the Indians when Indianapolis led after seven innings, was the fifth in six games for the Knights, even though their season record is still just 34-43. That should benefit Phegley and all his teammates, he feels.

“The White Sox are trying to develop guys to be winners, guys who know how to win games,” Phegley said. “The White Sox got off to a slow start [this season] and we got off to a slow start.”

With another young catcher in Tyler Flowers, plus a glut of first-base/designated-hitter types like Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn, the White Sox may prefer to have both their young backstops getting plenty of work. Phegley isn’t sure if that’s what the Sox think, but he isn’t worried about it anymore either.

“The way I’ve played so far this year has taken a lot of the pressure off,” he noted. “I’ve done all I can.”

Refusal to worry about the future has resulted in his best minor-league season so far, Phegley said.

“I think my defense was always there,” he added, “and this is my best offensive year.”

Eventually somebody should notice.

“We’re here in our triple-A world,” he quipped. “We just play our games.”

I I I

n No Sycamores at Charlotte now — Indiana State’s connections to the Knights have been severed, at least temporarily.

Starting pitcher Matt Zaleski is back in the Chicago area, Phegley said, rehabbing from recent Tommy John surgery that’s ended his season, and reliever Brian Omogrosso was recalled to the White Sox for the second time this season Friday.



 

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