Phegley brings a hot bat to bigs
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.