Brown not worried about potential outfield changes

Posted: July 11, 2014

MILWAUKEE - A week from tomorrow, the Phillies will return from the All-Star break with a three-game series in Atlanta. The makeup of manager Ryne Sandberg's starting outfield for that series could look a lot different from the current threesome.

Former three-time All-Star Grady Sizemore will likely be promoted within the next week, and Darin Ruf is currently finishing off his first week of rehab games from a wrist injury. Marlon Byrd is a candidate to swap uniforms before the trade deadline, joining a contending team in need of a righthanded bat.

And then there's Domonic Brown.

A year ago, he was the toast of Citizens Bank Park, headed to his first All-Star Game after a monster first half. He entered play last night at Miller Park hitting .227 with a .608 OPS and six home runs in 86 games.

Earlier this week, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said changes were likely on the way for his struggling outfield, and it's difficult to imagine Brown's playing time not being affected by those changes.

"I don't know anything about that," Brown said of Amaro's comments. "I don't look into that stuff."

Coincidentally, Brown had one of his best games of the season a night after Amaro's call for change. Brown went 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk and three RBI in the Phillies 9-7 win over the Brewers on Tuesday.

Afterward, Sandberg said he was impressed with Brown's line-drive, level swing. Brown said the only adjustment he's made is to try to take the field to have fun, rather than putting unnecessary pressure on himself.

"If I try to do too much like I was early on, that's when the struggles come," Brown said. "So I'm just out there having fun, trying to get a good pitch to hit, keeping it simple, one day at a time."

Whatever Brown is doing, there are encouraging signs that it's been working lately. Entering yesterday, he's hit .297 (11-for-36) in 12 games beginning June 25 and .300 (6-for-20) in his first six games on the current road trip.

It could very well become a case of too little, too late, at least in maintaining regular at-bats in a Phillies outfield that could see new players within the next week. But Brown isn't worrying about it.

"That doesn't bother me at all," Brown said. "Grady's a heck of a player. If they want to make that move, or platoon me, or I don't know, send me down, I don't worry about that kind of stuff. I've been there, done that, so it's not a big deal to me. I'll just leave it at that."

Ruiz update

Carlos Ruiz could rejoin the Phillies shortly after the All-Star break.

Ruiz, who suffered a concussion 2 weeks ago, was cleared to resume baseball activities yesterday after he passed an ImPACT test for the second time in 3 days.

Ruiz could get into rehab games sometime between this weekend and the All-Star break. Ruiz suffered the injury when he was hit with a pitch in the left ear on June 26.

Manship with Phillies

Jeff Manship rejoined the bullpen, after he missed just over a month with a strained right quadriceps. After throwing four shutout innings in an extra-inning loss to the New York Mets on May 31, Manship was hurt while attempting to beat out an infield single.

He returns to a bullpen that has suddenly become the strength of the Phillies team.

Entering yesterday the 'pen ranked in the top five in baseball in ERA (2.25, third), opponents' batting average (.208, third), WHIP (1.06, third), opponents OBP (.279, fourth), and strikeouts-per-nine innings (9.72, fourth) since June 3. The same relief corps sported a 4.95 ERA in the season's first 36 games, the highest in the National League.

"I've been keeping track every day, watching the games, looking at the box scores," Manship said. "They've been great. I think it's what we all expected. It's nice to see. Hopefully, I can come in contribute, keep everything going."

On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21


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