Phillies Notes: Team cautious with Brown's injured thumb

Luis Montanez rounds third base after hitting a game-winning home run in the 10th inning to defeat the Pirates, 5-4.
Luis Montanez rounds third base after hitting a game-winning home run in the 10th inning to defeat the Pirates, 5-4. (DAVID MAILAETTI / Staff Photographer)
Posted: March 09, 2012

CLEARWATER, Fla. - For a few innings of Thursday's 5-4 victory over Pittsburgh in Grapefruit League play, Domonic Brown stood next to manager Charlie Manuel on the top step of the Phillies dugout.

Brown has missed the last three days of action because of a sprained right thumb, which was scheduled for an examination later in the afternoon. But Manuel used the down time for a chance to have Brown's ear.

The 24-year-old must still make improvements on defense. If it weren't for a gaffe Monday, Brown's thumb would be fine.

He injured the thumb while diving for a ball, which he needed to do only because he took a poor route. The fly ball fell in for a triple, but its damage persists. This is an injury Brown has suffered before, including last May at triple-A Lehigh Valley, so the Phillies want a closer examination.

The outfielder was to undergo an MRI exam Thursday, assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. He had X-rays Wednesday. Because the thumb has caused problems before, the Phillies will have Brown sit for at least a few more days.

"We don't think it's anything serious," Proefrock said, "but we're going to take every precaution and get it scanned."

Brown, who is likely to start at triple A, is 2 for 8 with a walk in early Grapefruit League action.

Willis rests

The update on lefthander Dontrelle Willis was just as nebulous as his explanation after an ugly outing Wednesday.

Willis had originally complained of biceps soreness. Then, after pitching, he said his left forearm was sore. Pitching coach Rich Dubee said Willis would be "checked out," but there apparently wasn't much to it. A day later, Dubee characterized Willis' ailment as "arm soreness."

"He's going to rest a couple of days," Dubee said.

How many days?

"We'll see," Dubee said.

His tone was echoed by the front office. Proefrock said Willis would do less throwing, specifically long toss, in between outings.

"It was nothing major," Proefrock said.

Willis is scheduled to pitch again Sunday, but Dubee indicated that is unlikely.

Contreras behind

Jose Contreras will throw another batting practice session Friday, but he is not scheduled for any game action in the next week.

"That thing ain't written in blood," Dubee said of the pitching agenda. "I can always make adjustments."

The Phillies have padded Contreras' throwing schedule with extra days as he returns from elbow surgery, leaving his availability for opening day in question.

Extra bases

Cole Hamels pitched into the fourth inning and allowed four hits while striking out two. He downplayed the appearance of his agent, John Boggs, in Clearwater. "He just comes into town every year about the same time," Hamels said. "We're just going to treat it like a normal spring training for us. . . . It's not like I'm seeing him every day, every hour." . . . Both Antonio Bastardo and Phillippe Aumont tossed spotless innings. . . . Nonroster outfielder Lou Montanez ended the game in the 10th inning with a home run against Dubee's son, Michael. . . . Ty Wigginton made his first start at second base and committed an error. He did reach base all three times he batted. . . . Former Phillies Dick Allen and Dave Cash threw ceremonial first pitches before Thursday's game. Allen celebrated his 70th birthday.

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