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White Sox catcher Josh Phegley blames the pressing

GLENDALE, Ariz. — There’s an overriding theme in White Sox camp that as last season’s 99-loss debacle unraveled, players only made things worse by trying too hard to dig out of the rubble.

Catcher Josh Phegley joined the team at midseason, and after making an initial impact with his bat, he got buried along with everyone else.

“I started off really well when they called me up,” said Phegley, who homered off David Price in his second major-league game and had RBI in his first three games — the only Sox rookie in team history to do so. “Then I struggled, pressed, tried to do too much. Then kind of the attitude surrounding the club last year and how negative it was, everyone was out there trying to do way more than they were capable of.”

Phegley finished with a .206 average, four home runs and 22 RBI in 213 plate appearances. A .315 hitter with 15 homers at Class AAA Charlotte before his July 5 call-up, Phegley’s confidence hasn’t wavered.

“What I got out of last year was, I’m a big-leaguer,” he said. “I can play up there and just trust myself.”

Manager Robin Ventura gave something of a nod to Tyler Flowers on Saturday, not saying it was Flowers’ job to lose but more or less separating him from the pack in the catcher competition that also includes Rule 5 pick Adrian Nieto. That had no effect on Phegley.

“No. I’m just here to show them what I can do,” he said. “They’ve seen me enough, but there is some competition for the job. That’s what we all want.

“I have all the confidence in the world that once I get my bearings, adjust to the pitching and the speed of the level, I’m going to be a good player.’’

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @CST_soxvan



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