Phe­g­ley brings a hot bat to bigs

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - BASEBALL - By Su­san Slusser Su­san Slusser is a San Francisco Chron­i­cle staff writer.

TORONTO — Josh Phe­g­ley is back, if briefly, and the tim­ing might work out very well: Phe­g­ley re­turned to the A’s just as he’s start­ing to swing the bat well.

“I know the num­bers don’t re­ally show it, but I’ve been find­ing the barrel of the bat quite of­ten,” said Phe­g­ley, who home­red in two of his last three games at Triple-A Nashville. “Hit­ting some homers, mak­ing some loud outs when I do make outs. And one thing that’s not re­ally char­ac­ter­is­tic of my ca­reer: I’m walk­ing a lot more, see­ing a lot of pitches, lay­ing off slid­ers and good pitches out of the zone.”

Phe­g­ley, fill­ing in as the A’s backup catcher be­hind Jonathan Lu­croy while Bruce Maxwell is on the re­stricted list, will start Fri­day night against the Blue Jays, man­ager Bob Melvin said. “He’s swing­ing as well as he has all year, so it’s pru­dent to get him in there quick,” Melvin said.

Maxwell’s le­gal sta­tus wouldn’t al­low him to en­ter Canada. Even though he has agreed to plead guilty to dis­or­derly con­duct for an in­ci­dent last fall in which Maxwell al­legedly drew a gun on a food de­liv­ery per­son, the fact that he has not yet been sen­tenced means he is still fac­ing a gun-re­lated charge, which makes him in­el­i­gi­ble for en­try. The A’s abil­ity to get a catcher with such solid cre­den­tials quickly for the four-game se­ries was a real plus, Melvin said.

“Josh has been part of this team for years now, he’s a guy we’re real com­fort­able with, he knows the pitch­ers, he knows our scheme, knows what we’re all about,” Melvin said. “It’s nice to bring in, es­pe­cially at catcher at this point of the year, who doesn’t have to get up to speed ei­ther with signs or (pitch­ing) staff. He’s a re­ally good guy to have.”

Phe­g­ley walked seven times in his last eight games with Nashville, where he was bat­ting .224. He opened the sea­son on Oak­land’s dis­abled list af­ter break­ing two fin­gers on a foul tip.

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