Josh Phegley's finger injury a fitting end to White Sox's first half

USA TODAY Sports

X-rays were negative, though, so it could be worse -- unlike the team's record

For the White Sox, Josh Phegley's ninth inning on Sunday pretty much represents the entire first half.

In the top of the inning, Phegley bounced a single through the middle to tie the game at 3.

In the bottom half, he took a foul tip off his throwing hand that knocked him out of the game.

Throw another case onto the Mount Trashmore of evidence suggesting the Sox just can't have nice things this year.

It'd be one thing if Phegley put his hand in harm's way, because then you could say he was asking for it. It turns out he actually had it in a pretty good spot -- behind his right leg. The foul tip only found his index finger because it deflected off his mitt first:

Phegley_foultip_medium

Tyler Flowers, on more than one occasion, has suffered worse foul tips because he keeps his throwing hand in front of his body. Here's one against Oakland on June 9:

Flowers_foultip_medium

That one caught Flowers' hand flush -- GIFs don't have sound, and I can still hear the crackle -- but it didn't force him out of the game. Phegley did a better job of protecting his hand, but because no good deed goes unpunished this year, his foul tip hit him at the right angle to cause a pretty ugly scene:

"That ball got me pretty square right on the finger and hurt pretty good immediately," Phegley said. "I looked down and saw a bump that didn't look normal, so I thought maybe something was sticking out, which shouldn't have been sticking out."

X-rays were negative, Phegley said, so hopefully it's just normal swelling of grotesque proportions. Given the events of this season, I'm not counting out the contradictory second opinion that finds a fracture, because Phegley's been worth watching so far, so of course the baseball gods would try to take that away.

His hits have been more timely than numerous, and he's got the problem of a batting average (.241) that's higher than his OBP (.233) through 29 at-bats. But four of his seven hits have gone for extra bases, and one of the rare singles tied the game off a proven closer. He might have flaws in his approach, but he doesn't seem to be thinking himself out of big moments, which is a good place to start.

He's also hanging in there defensively -- issues with his hands pop up (or out) from time to time, and he's still got to get reps with all of the pitchers, but the effort is there, the miscues haven't been fatal, and the responsibilities haven't snowballed on him. For all that's been heaped upon him, it's been a successful first 10 days; the kind of performance the Sox would be lucky to get from all the guys who will be receiving unprecedented exposure in the second half.

Here's hoping Phegley's next 10 days take place immediately after the All-Star break. X-rays haven't been reliable to the Sox in recent years. You'd think imaging could get a finger fracture right, but this season has forced everybody to recalibrate the concept of "easy."

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