Phillies Notebook: Slow, sure for Domonic Brown

Posted: August 29, 2013

NEW YORK - Since the Phillies entered play yesterday 13 1/2 games out of a postseason berth with 31 games remaining, there is absolutely no reason to rush a player back to the field if said player is injured.

Domonic Brown was out of the lineup for the third straight game with soreness in his right Achilles'. For the second straight day, Brown jogged during pregame work to test his leg, but the team is moving forward with caution.

"He still feels it. There's no sense in pushing it or anything," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "It still seems to be getting better each day."

Brown entered the final 5 weeks of the season third in the National League with 27 home runs. He was four behind Pittsburgh's Pedro Alvarez and Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt, who each had 31 homers entering last night's games.

Brown was removed from Saturday's 18-inning marathon after just two innings. He pinch-hit in games on Sunday and Monday, but hasn't been cleared to return to regular active duty.

"He's champing at the bit a little bit," Sandberg said. "He's anxious. That's why he's coming out here to test it and see where he's at. I know that he's anxious."

Sandberg still referred to the injury as a "day-to-day" thing that would not require a trip to the disabled list.

Brown, who played in his first All-Star Game last month at Citi Field, is hitting .275 with an .841 OPS and 80 RBI in 119 games.

Despite Brown's breakout season, Sandberg didn't hesitate when asked where his team needs to be upgraded the most this winter.

"I think the outfield needs to be ironed out one way or the other," Sandberg said.

While Brown has performed in left, the Phils failed to find solutions in right and in center, in part because of Ben Revere's foot injury and Darin Ruf's late arrival to the major leagues.

Among National League teams, Phillies' rightfielders' .732 OPS ranks 12th, their .310 OBP ranks 13th and their 44 extra-base hits rank 11th. Their centerfielders have a .663 OPS (10th), a .306 OBP (10th) and just 31 extra-base hits (14th, only the San Francisco Giants have fewer).

"They've talked about centerfield all year," Sandberg said. "Ben Revere came on real strong for about 5 weeks. He probably hit close to .400 for a month or something. He really showed his speed and value. So I think just straightening out who the outfield is. There are some guys in the mix here. I don't know."

Sandberg added that both the catching situation (Carlos Ruiz is a free agent) and the bullpen are also areas that have to be addressed this winter.

Arizona Fall League

Seven Phillies prospects were on the roster for the Peoria Javelinas when the players for the Arizona Fall League were announced yesterday.

The Phils will send pitchers Ken Giles, Mike Nesseth, Kyle Simon and Austin Wright, catcher Cameron Rupp and outfielders Aaron Altherr and Kelly Dugan.

The 22-year-old Dugan, the Phils' top pick (second round) of the 2009 draft, has hit .292 with an .870 OPS, 20 home runs and 57 RBI in 106 games between Class A Clearwater and Double A Reading this year. Dugan is a lefthanded hitter.

Rupp, a third-round pick in the 2010 draft, has risen up the depth chart of what was previously a deep crop of catching prospects. The 24-year-old, righthanded-hitting Rupp is batting .259 with 14 home runs in 91 games between Reading and Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Sandberg was asked earlier this week if Rupp could be added when the Phils expand the major league roster next month.

"He's come a long way this year, we'll see if he's one of the guys," Sandberg said. "He's had a fine year. It's good to hear. I haven't seen that much of him, really. Nice, big kid. He's had a good season."

Phillers

Darin Ruf entered last night with a National League-leading nine home runs in August. Ruf is the first Phillies rookie with nine or more home runs in a single month since Ryan Howard hit 10 in September 2005 . . . Prior to the game, the Mets traded outfielder and former Phillie Marlon Byrd along with catcher John Buck to the Pittsburgh Pirates for infield prospect Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later. Both Byrd and Buck are free agents after the season . . . Cole Hamels (5-13, 3.62 ERA) will pitch opposite Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-1, 9.00) at Citi Field tonight. Hamels is 3-5 with a 4.34 ERA in 12 career starts at Citi Field.


On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21

Blog: ph.ly/HighCheese

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