Josh Phegley was welcomed to U.S. Cellular Field by a throng of media -- one so large, his pregame media session was forced outside into the heat of the White Sox dugout.
The 25-year-old catcher wasn't ranked among the top 15 White Sox prospects by any publication over the winter, but 15 home runs and a .966 OPS -- coupled with the struggles of Opening Day starter Tyler Flowers -- have brought plenty of attention his debut. Phegley went 2-for-7 with a home run and three RBI over the weekend in St. Petersburg and made his U.S. Cellular Field debut Monday night against the Cubs.
"I think coming back here it will be a little more nervous feeling again playing in the first game at home again," Phegley said. "It will probably be a pretty good crowd with the Crosstown rivalry, and I’m just excited to get it going."
The Terre Haute, Ind., native didn't expect to have a large group of friends and family make the drive up to the South Side for Monday's game but expects those from his hometown will come in waves. That could add another layer of pressure for Phegley, but he feels he's well-equipped to deal with it.
"Just starting off so well in Charlotte and having a good season to begin with kind of took the pressure off me to kind of just keep playing my game," he said. "Whenever the call came I would be ready. I had a great year down there, and I wanted to keep it rolling and not really think about getting the call too much. Now that I’m up here hopefully I can help this team win."
Beckham sticks in No. 2 spot
While the 2013 season has been marred by plenty of negatives, one positive has been Gordon Beckham's success since coming off the disabled list just over a month ago. The 26-year-old has a .341/.367/.432 slash line and is hitting better than he has since the second half of the 2010 season .
The No. 2 spot in the order, then, serves him well as he can get on base for Alex Rios and Adam Dunn in the middle.
"When he’s healthy, he’s hitting it to right field," manager Robin Ventura said. "I think that’s why you see his average the way it is. Just the at-bats and putting the barrel on it, going the other way. It’s a good spot for him.'"
Set for Detroit
The White Sox played game No. 86 Monday night, and finally in game No. 87 on Tuesday night they'll face the Detroit Tigers for the first time this year.
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It's certainly a scheduling quirk, as all 19 contests against the Tigers come after the official halfway point of the season.
“It’s odd you haven’t seen them already," Ventura said. "You got a lot of games in the second half, but it’s weird when you don’t see anybody in your division until the All-Star break. But I didn’t make the schedule, but you just go with it."