GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Since having his spleen removed on Nov. 5, Josh Phegley has witnessed nothing but great results through weekly blood work in combating the Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura illness that cost him all but 48 games during the 2010 season. His platelet count rose and consistently remained stable, a change from last year, when that same count was dangerously low -- especially dangerous playing a position prone to collisions or taking foul tips that lead to bruising.
Now, Phegley, a rising star behind the plate in the White Sox system, has an adjusted view toward this renewed opportunity as part of Spring Training.
"Spring Training is meant to get ready for the season, but I missed most of last year," Phegley said. "So, I'll use this time to get ready for the season and get back to where I was before all this hit me.
"I'm a little more excited. I didn't get to play much last year. So, coming in and being healthy, I'm excited and ready to get going."
Phegley will continue checking his platelet count weekly during Spring Training. At that point, if all is well, the tests will move to once per month.
Beckham has 'something to prove'
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The key for Gordon Beckham to return to his 2009 Rookie of the Year-caliber form in 2011 might not center on the second baseman's ability to hit the offspeed pitch or any on-field machinations.
It might just come from Beckham's ability to say "no" more often.
"Sometimes they get in a situation where they are spread too thin," said White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, when asked about Beckham's sophomore slump. "It's not just his fault. It's the organization, the people outside, your mom, your dad and everyone.
"I went through it. Everyone has gone through it. You have that year and people are like, 'You can do this and do that' and people are like, 'We need you to do this appearance and do this interview,' and you want to say yes to everybody.
"But I think last year, the organization and himself and everyone said we need you to do so much," Pierzynski said. "That's great because he's a great young player and has a great future. At the same time, you have to be able to say no and that's the hardest thing you learn sometimes."
With Beckham's locker located next to Pierzynski's during Spring Training, the White Sox catcher has taken it upon himself to teach Beckham in the ways of being "meaner." Beckham might not need the help, having told MLB.com back in early February that his 2011 focus falls solely on baseball.
"In my opinion, I have something to prove," said Beckham, who was in camp Wednesday and working six days before White Sox position players were scheduled to report. "I've worked hard. Last year, maybe I was a little too comfortable, you know? Let's just put it that way."
"We talked a lot this winter, and I like the way he's talking and I like the way he's acting," Pierzynski said. "He's got a different mindset this year. That's good. It's what he needs and what we need as a team. I look forward to him having a great year and as long as you guys don't anoint him the second coming of Babe Ruth, we'll be all right."
Peavy encouraged to take his time
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Like the rest of the White Sox organization, A.J. Pierzynski understands how important Jake Peavy's return is to the 2011 cause.
Yet, Pierzynski does not want Peavy to put extra pressure on himself during his ongoing rehab from season-ending surgery to repair a detached latissimus dorsi muscle in his right shoulder. He doesn't want Peavy to think the season hinges on his return by Opening Day.
"It will be up to [White Sox athletic trainer] Herm [Schneider] and [White Sox manager] Ozzie [Guillen] and those guys to kind of slow him down and say, 'When you are 100 percent, let's do this,'" Pierzynski said. "'We'll use you for whether it's 25 starts or 30 starts, whatever it is. We'll get the best of you from those.'
"One thing about Jake: He wants the ball and wants to pitch. It's one of his biggest strengths. He'll take the ball and pitch every fifth day if you let him, and you like that about him."
Peavy already has been at the White Sox complex at Camelback Ranch, but was not present on Wednesday morning. Pitchers and catchers don't have to report until Thursday.
Around the horn
Chris Sale will be part of Thursday's work group including starters Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson, John Danks and Gavin Floyd. A decision will be made over the next six weeks whether Sale will end up in the rotation as a temporary Peavy replacement, if needed, or work out of the bullpen. ... Count Matt Thornton, a prime candidate to replace Bobby Jenks in 2011, as one individual who would like to see a set White Sox closer. "You have that focal guy at the end, designated as a closer," Thornton said. "He can't throw every single game so you have other guys fill in, like any other team does."