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May 12, 2013

From Terre Haute to the major leagues: Phegley's play could earn him promotion to Chicago

TERRE HAUTE — Josh Phegley's debut in the Major Leagues could be coming to a ballpark near you.

Phegley is off to a blazing start in the International League for the AAA-Charlotte Knights, ranking second in the International League through Thursday’s games with seven home runs to go with 18 RBI.

The Terre Haute North graduate is also fifth in the IL in on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) thanks to a .402 on-base percentage and a .622 slugging percentage. Phegley leads the Knights in runs, RBI, homers and OPS.

Phegley had a two-homer, four RBI game on May 3 at Toledo.

The former 38th overall pick by the White Sox has already surpassed his 2012 total of six home runs for Charlotte in 304 less at-bats. He hit a respectable .266 with 22 doubles last season with 48 RBI.

In his first couple years in the minors, Phegley struggled for the first time in his baseball career, hitting just .224 at Class A Kannapolis then in 2010 ran a blood disorder shortened his season.

He’s been on a gradual rise since then, showing he may be ready to get the call to Chicago. The chance of that increases if 27-year-old Tyler Flowers continues to struggle. Flowers is batting .183 through 26 games in Chicago, not much worse than his career. 200 average in the big leagues. Flowers has struck out 28 times in 82 at-bats this season.

The 25-year-old Phegley may be better than Flowers defensively as well. He threw out 46 percent of would-be basestealers in 2012 to earn the Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove.

Expect that promotion sometime this summer if current trends continue.

Other newsworthy items:

• Joe Thatcher has allowed just three hits and no runs in his last eight appearances for the San Diego Padres. The left-handed specialist has not walked a batter and has struck out seven during that span.

• Derek Eitel followed two scoreless relief appearances up with a a three-walk, three-run outing on May 3 in two innings. He took the loss then walked two and allowed one unearned run at Carolina.

• Ryan Strausborger is 2-for-37 in his with one home run in his last 10 games for Double-A Frisco.

• Nevin Ashley has seven  RBI in his last 10 games for Louisville, with a .353 on-base percentage.

• West Vigo and Indiana State product Jeremy Lucas hit his first home run April 30 and had a three-hit day May 9 against South Bend for the Class A-Lake County Captains. Lucas spent five games in Double-A Akron — going 3-for-15 — before the Indians acquired Chris Wallace to add to their depth at catcher in the minor leagues.

• A former Terre Haute Rex shortstop, Stephen Bruno had his fourth multi-hit game of the season May 3 before placed on the seven-day disabled list for the Daytona Cubs.

• Mitch Stetter has four scoreless outings for the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees but got tagged for three runs on May 5 against Tucson. The lefty has allowed just eight hits in 12 2/3 innings in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League however.

• Dakota Bacus went five innings, allowing one earned run and three hits in his first start of the season. The former Sycamore has 30 strikeouts and six walks in 30 innings.

Craig Pearson can be reached by e-mail at craig.pearson@tribstar.com. Follow on Twitter @TribStarCraig.

 

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