As difficult as it has been for Amaro and the rest of the Phillies' decision-makers to evaluate the team at the big-league level because of injuries, it has been equally tricky to get a great read on what kind of progress Brown has made this season.
The hope for Brown was that he'd get close to a full season in at triple-A and begin to develop into the star player a lot of people thought he would be when he was among Baseball America's top-ranked prospects a couple of years ago. Instead, injuries have limited Brown to 178 at-bats this season with the IronPigs. He went 1 for 3 with a walk, an RBI and two runs scored in his return at Durham.
So do the Phillies know any more about Brown now than they did when they sent him to Lehigh Valley near the end of spring training?
"One of the things he has done and really worked on is his defense in the outfield," Amaro said. "He has played all three spots. But he kind of got more rejuvenated by playing center field, and he seems like he's more comfortable out there."
As much as center field may have helped Brown defensively, it still does not figure to be the position he plays in the future.
"I think he's probably more suited to be more of a corner outfielder," Amaro said.
But, should the Phillies move Shane Victorino before the July 31 deadline, it could be Brown's ticket back to Philadelphia, and it would be interesting to see if the 24-year-old would get some starts in center field. First, however, he needs to play more in triple A.
"I don't know exactly how long he needs to play [down there], but he does need to play, and he needs to play consistently," Amaro said. "His injuries haven't allowed him to do that."
That they haven't been able to develop Brown this season, however, has made some tough decisions at all levels even more difficult.
"It's tough to make decisions right now because a lot of the grades are incompletes," Amaro said. "We have Brown who hasn't played a lot. We have [Tyson] Gillies who hasn't played a lot. [Phillippe] Aumont went down for a while. We have guys on the field right now who are incompletes. What are we going to get out of Chase [Utley] and Ryan [Howard] toward the end of the year and next year? It's very difficult to make evaluation on guys when they are not able to perform."
And, now, with the trade deadline just two weeks away, Amaro has to decide whether to buy or sell.
"Every year has a different flavor," Amaro said. "We've been through some strange situations and ups and downs, where both buying and selling are not an impossibility, and we may find ourselves in that situation again this year."
Manager Charlie Manuel said a realistic expectation for Roy Halladay when he returns from the disabled list Tuesday night against the Dodgers is six innings. Despite the fact he only threw three innings in his lone rehab appearance at single-A Clearwater, the Phillies are comfortable with their decision to activate him.
"I think Roy knows himself better than anyone . . . and he says he didn't think he needed another one," Manuel said.
Contact Bob Brookover at email@example.com or @brookob on Twitter.