Clutch HR perfect Rx for achy Phegley

A's catcher delivers in 9th as he nurses sore shoulder

Clutch HR perfect Rx for achy Phegley

MESA, Ariz. - A's catcher Josh Phegley, nursing a sore right shoulder early in camp, has been held back by manager Bob Melvin during the opening days of the Cactus League season. There's no holding him back now.

Phegley homered with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning against Brewers reliever Hiram Burgos to virtually end the game in an 8-8 tie at HoHoKam Stadium.

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It has been a frustrating few days for Phegley, whose homer took away the sting of the two-run shot Yadiel Rivera hit in the top of the final inning that gave Milwaukee a short-lived one-run lead.

"These kind of things don't happen very often," Phegley said. "I'll take it."

The game was populated by mostly Minor Leaguers during the late innings, but Phegley was sent in to pinch-hit in the designated hitter's slot during the seventh. He was Oakland's last line of defense when he came to bat in the ninth with two men out and no one on.

"We have a lot of guys who are pretty limited," Phegley said. "The DH spot is pretty flexible and I knew I had a good chance of getting in there. After my first couple of at-bats this spring, I need to contribute with a little defense. But that makes me feel a little bit better about the offense."

Phegley is projected to share the catching duties with Stephen Vogt this season, and he calls the tender shoulder just a "little hiccup." Last year, his first in Oakland, Phegley played in 73 games and hit .249 with nine homers and 34 RBIs.

Melvin noted that Phegley is close to a full-time return.

"We'll give him tomorrow off and hopefully he'll be in the lineup on Monday," Melvin said. "It'd be nice to have one of our catchers back."

Phegley was pleased to hear that. He tested his arm throwing to the bases on Saturday and said it felt "100 percent normal."

"I feel like I didn't miss any days," he added. "I feel good. I feel like the little hiccup allowed me to overemphasis the strength and taking care of it. Now it's even better off than it would've been. I'm just anxious to get back there in my natural state."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.