Phillies Notebook: Phillies lose 'a lift' with Brignac

Phillies starter A.J. Burnett finally got going after a 50-minute rain delay Friday night in St. Louis. He went the distance in a 5-1 win.
Phillies starter A.J. Burnett finally got going after a 50-minute rain delay Friday night in St. Louis. He went the distance in a 5-1 win.
Posted: June 22, 2014

ST. LOUIS - Reid Brignac's future is uncertain, and not just because he will spend the next 15 days, and maybe more, on the disabled list with a high ankle sprain that he suffered while sliding into first base on Thursday night.

The departure of the 28-year-old infielder from the active roster was coupled with the return of Cody Asche, who figures to garner the vast majority of starts at third base for the rest of the season.

But if the Phillies do somehow end up clawing their way back into contention - they entered yesterday five games under .500 but only four games behind the Nationals in the NL East - they will owe some thanks to Brignac. With Asche on the disabled list, Brignac started 15 games at third base and logged a respectable .259/.328/.414 line in them. He drove in eight runs, which included two walkoff hits.

They might not be All-Star numbers, but they filled a role, particularly considering the struggles of young utility man Cesar Hernandez, who hit just .162/.205/.162 with 10 strikeouts in 37 at-bats in 12 games at third base.

"He gave us a lift at a time when we needed it," manager Ryne Sandberg said.

The role Brignac occupies when he returns could depend on how the Phillies perform between now and the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline.

If the Phillies end up finding a trade partner willing to make it worth their while to part with Jimmy Rollins or Chase Utley (the latter of whom they will need to be bowled over to move), Brignac would be a candidate to fill the void, in much the same way that Kevin Frandsen saw his playing time increase last season after the Phillies shipped away veteran Michael Young and placed Ryan Howard on the disabled list with a season-ending knee injury.

The Phillies entered last night having won eight of their previous 10 games, including the last four in a row, their first winning streak of longer than three games in more than a calendar year. The NL East standings at the start of play yesterday: Washington (37-34), Atlanta (37-35), Miami (36-36), the Phillies (33-38), New York (33-40).

"I feel fortunate to be where we are at," Sandberg said. "It's up to us to take care of our business and continue down the path that we have been on the last 10 games. I think we're still there and we're still knocking on the door.

"It seems fortunate, but then again, except for maybe 2 or 3 weeks there, it seemed like everybody was going to stay fairly close."

Revere sits again

Centerfielder Ben Revere was out of the lineup again last night with the sore knee that has hampered him since he crashed into the outfield wall in Atlanta on Monday night.

"He's coming along," Sandberg said. "He was a little restricted in his pregame [Thursday] . . . He's still a little restricted. The swelling was getting out of there but not totally out there to feel 100 percent in the range of motion."

Revere is hitting .280/.297/.333 on the season.

John Mayberry Jr. had been swinging the bat well when Revere went down, but he has just two hits in 16 at-bats, albeit with four walks, over his last seven games, four of them starts.

Lee throws bullpen

Cliff Lee threw his second bullpen session since hitting the disabled list with a strained flexor tendon a month ago. Lee threw 30 pitches and said he felt no pain in his elbow, although he did say that he can still "tell that something is there." Lee is still hoping to return before the All-Star break.


Catcher Wil Nieves has been available "in some capacity" the past two games, although he is still somewhat limited by the quad injury he suffered while running the bases Wednesday in Atlanta . . . The Phillies have expressed some interest in outfielder Grady Sizemore, who was recently released by the Red Sox. This, according to CBS Sports.

On Twitter: @ByDavidMurphy


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