DETROIT -- Josh Phegley is all set to drive the baseball version of the McLaren GT on Thursday afternoon.
Aside from a few brief instances, the rookie catcher will catch two-time All-Star Chris Sale for the first time when the White Sox take on the Detroit Tigers in today’s series finale.
Manager Robin Ventura equates catching Sale to driving a luxury automobile. In spring training, Phegley said the car he’d most like to drive is a McLaren GT. According to topcarrating.com, a 1997 McLaren F1 GT is worth $4,000,000.
“It’s kind of like the first time you get the keys to a really good car,” Ventura said. “Don’t crash it. It’s fun.”
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Sale’s slider is one of the nastiest pitches in the game. At the All-Star Game last season, the lefty’s slider drew comparisons to that of Randy Johnson from the likes of Minnesota’s Joe Mauer and Texas’ Ian Kinsler. Teammate Paul Konerko also noted how he had seen numerous right-handed hitters buckled by Sale’s slider.
“The ball comes out of his hand high and away, they actually freeze when it comes down,” Konerko said. “You don’t see too many guys in the game do that.”
Phegley’s previous experience working with Sale totals one inning at Single-A Winston-Salem in 2010 and in a handful of bullpen sessions.
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“If you are him, you want to catch Sale,” Ventura said. “He does. I think it will be a pretty fun day for him catching somebody like Chris. I can’t imagine he’s caught somebody that has his kind of stuff. I think any catcher would love to get back there.”
Peavy to Double-A
Jake Peavy said he would leave for a rehab start for Double-A Birminghman on Saturday night. After careful consideration, Ventura and the White Sox prefer Peavy, who has been on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured left rib since June 5, to pitch in a real game before he returns. Peavy, who threw 76 pitches in a simulated game at Detroit on Tuesday, isn’t a fan of minor-league games and requested to pitch in Sunday’s first-half finale against the Philadelphia Phillies instead.
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“It’s one of those that’s hard to put him in a game just after a simulated thing, at least at the major league level,” Ventura said. “Let him go get a start. See how that goes. He pitched with the rib in Seattle so it’s one of those where you want to make sure it’s good and he can go a long time. It’s not just one of those where he goes out in the third inning and starts hurting.”
Third base for Ventura?
With flashbacks of Tommy Lasorda getting knocked down running through his head, Ventura said he’s not sure whether or not he will accept Jim Leyland’s invitation for him to coach third base at the All-Star Game next Tuesday.
The Detroit Tigers and American League All-Star manager extended the invitation to Ventura this week. The White Sox manager said he would make the decision after he arrives in New York on Sunday night.
In 2001, Lasorda, who was manning third base, was hit on the left hip when a piece of Vladimir Guerrero’s bat shattered.
“I don’t know if that’s a good idea,” Ventura said. “We’ll see when we get there. He said I can do whatever I want, but we’ll see. The Tommy moment goes through my head. I’ll be able to get out of the way I think.”