Phillies Notes: Domonic Brown is back - and ready, Ruben Amaro Jr. says

Posted: August 02, 2012

WASHINGTON - The gray No. 9 jersey hung in the locker closest to the door in the visitors clubhouse at Nationals Park. It was waiting for Domonic Brown, the Phillies' erstwhile top prospect, who emerged as one of Tuesday's big winners.

Brown's plane from Syracuse, N.Y., was delayed, and it cost him a spot in the starting lineup Tuesday. He arrived around first pitch and pinch-hit in the eighth inning, getting a single.

Starting Wednesday, he will play and he will play often.

"He's going to get a chance," manager Charlie Manuel said.

Brown's detour to an everyday job in the majors is well-documented. The acquisition of Hunter Pence last summer relegated him to the minors, where poor defense and myriad injuries further stunted his development.

On the field in 2012, Brown has succeeded. In 60 games for triple-A Lehigh Valley, he is hitting .286 with a .767 OPS. He has played at all three outfield positions, and scouts have noted an improvement in his defense.

"More than anything else, I think he's mentally more ready for the challenge," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "I think he's more physically ready for the challenge. Just from having talked to Joe Jordan and Benny Looper and Ryne Sandberg, and the people who have been watching him play this year, it seems like he's in a good state of mind, in a good physical place. We'll let him go play and see how it goes."

The Phillies also are curious about Nate Schierholtz, one of the players acquired for Pence. A part-time player in San Francisco, Schierholtz could take over in right field. The 28-year-old lefthanded hitter has a .755 OPS in 196 plate appearances. He is making $1.3 million in 2012 and will be under team control for two more years.

"We probably want to find out about that, too," Manuel said. "I think he can. But I haven't seen him a whole lot. But I like this about him: He can pull the ball. Also, he hits the ball high in the air. I like that. Especially in our yard."

Blanton stays

When the dust settled Tuesday, Joe Blanton remained a Phillie, and retained his status as human trade rumor.

"You're still here, Joe?" Cliff Lee asked when he entered the clubhouse and saw Blanton.

The pitcher smiled. Blanton, a free agent at season's end, was not traded. The Phillies engaged in extensive talks with Baltimore, a baseball source said, but common ground was never achieved.

Ultimately, the two sides squabbled over how much salary should be assumed by the Phillies, the source said. Blanton is owed about $2.8 million in 2012.

Amaro did not shut the door on a deal happening in August. Blanton must clear trade waivers to be dealt. If a team claims him, the Phillies can negotiate a trade with that specific team or simply award it Blanton's full salary for nothing in return.

Extra bases

Both Schierholtz and Josh Lindblom will join the team Wednesday. To make room the Phillies optioned Joe Savery and Jake Diekman to triple-A Lehigh Valley. . . . Catcher Brian Schneider (calf) was activated from the disabled list. . . . Tommy Joseph, one of the prospects acquired for Pence, will be the everyday catcher for double-A Reading. Sebastian Valle, rated as the organization's top position-player prospect before Joseph's addition, will be promoted to triple A. . . . The Phillies transferred catcher Tuffy Gosewisch's contract to Toronto.


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