Results tagged ‘ Domonic Brown ’

Green Likes Phillies, But Kids Need to Step Up

Dallas Green, Charlie ManuelIt’s always interesting to get Dallas Green‘s take on the Phillies. He has spent a lifetime in baseball, spending the recent past working in the Phillies’ front office as an adviser. The man has his opinions.

I wanted to talk to him yesterday about the past and if he sees any relation to the Phillies’ future. The Phillies won three consecutive National League East championships from 1976-78 before stumbling badly in 1979. Players knew entering the 1980 season they basically needed to get things turned around or the front office would make some big changes. Of course, they won the World Series. I asked Green if he thought there were any comparisons between the 1979-80 and the 2012-13 teams.

Read that story here.

But Green also offered his take on the current Phillies. Here is some of what he said:

Q: Can this team compete?
A: It’s a good club. The age business in baseball isn’t as stark as other sports in my mind. There are ways to rest guys. There are ways to take care of themselves, even though 162 is a hell of a grind. But our guys are very experienced. Jimmy (Rollins) knows how. Unfortunately he shows it too many times running to first, but Pete (Rose) never let age get to him. He didn’t have a great year in ’80, but he played his ass off. And experience carried him. Boonie (Bob Boone) was starting to show some age. Bull (Greg Luzinski) was breaking down a little bit too often. Smitty (Mike Schmidt) was still sound, but he was in his 30s. (Manny) Trillo, same way. Bake (McBride), same way. (Larry) Bowa, same way. There are a lot of similarities.

Q: Do you like the moves the Phillies made in the offseason?
A: I love Michael Young. I think he epitomizes what Chase (Utley) brings: the team value, the work ethic that’s important to a club like this. I mean, we lived on natural talent for so long. We really did. We could out-talent a lot of teams. We can’t do that anymore. You cannot go out there and just bang guys around and say, ‘We’re the Phillies.’ Now you’ve got to respect the other guys and figure out a way to win the game. And that takes some thought process in game situations. Those are very, very important. Game situation baseball is what I preach and what I live by. You can’t always hit a home run. You can’t always out-talent guys. You can’t always have good days. So you’re going to have a bad day, where you say, ‘If we can just get a run.’ That hurts pitching when you can’t.

Q: Would it surprise you if this team made the playoffs?
A: Oh, no. It wouldn’t surprise me. It really is expected. Again, there’s ifs. God damn, you’ve got to stay healthy. And we’ve got to have a couple of the young guys come through here. Whether it’s (Domonic) Brown or (Darin) Ruf or whoever. Somebody has to step forward and play baseball. Somebody has to. Even in the pitching. We’ve got a young bullpen. (Mike) Adams obviously is a big fit for us. And of course we’ve got (Jonathan) Papelbon. He’s one of the best. And then (Antonio) Bastardo, one day he’s good the next we don’t know what we have. And the rest of them are young. And they’re the guys that have to come forward. At least keep us in the god damn game in the sixth and seventh inning so if we can mount comebacks we can mount comebacks.

Q: You had some young guys step up in ’80. This team does need some young guys to step up this year.
A: It’s the same old thing. If you’re a prospect eventually you’ve got to put numbers up. You’ve got to put numbers up. I’ve always felt that in the Minor Leagues. I said how in the hell can I bring a guy hitting .220 over 140 games to the big leagues and expect him to be a big production guy? You can’t do it. Sooner or later in the Minor Leagues you’ve got to put some numbers up. And that gives you enough confidence to put you out here. It’s like Ruf. A couple years ago probably half of us didn’t think he could play. But he worked at his game, he got himself in better shape and he started popping the ball. That’s his style. He’s a home run hitter. He isn’t going to win a Gold Glove. You’re not getting a Gold Glove. And Brownie. I love the guy. I really do. Brownie has to step up. I read about opportunity. Gene Mauch used to tell us, ‘Here’s your opportunity. When I give you the baseball, go get an out. When I tell you to pinch-hit get a hit.’ That’s the opportunity. I’ve always impressed guys — that’s your opportunity. You couldn’t ask for more opportunities than he’s had for the production he’s given us. Opportunity is opportunity. ‘What’s my role? What’s my role?’ The role is if you make the 25 (man roster), if you’re asked to do something do it.

Is This Brown’s Last Shot?

Domonic BrownThis is a big spring for Domonic Brown. He’s smart enough to know that.

The way I see it, four of the Phillies’ five outfield jobs are locks or close to locks:

  • Ben Revere. He’s the centerfielder.
  • Delmon Young. He’s the rightfielder, although he could miss the first couple weeks of the season following ankle surgery.
  • John Mayberry Jr. I think he makes the team because he hits left-handed pitching well, he’s out of options and because he’s the only other guy in this group other than Revere that can play center field.
  • Laynce Nix. He’s making $1.35 million this season and he’s a veteran left-handed bat with pop. I suppose there’s a situation where the Phillies could release him, but it seems unlikely at this point.

That leaves Brown and Darin Ruf competing for the final outfield job, although Young’s health could make everything written here moot. But here’s what Brown said today about his job prospects:

Q: Your reaction to the Phillies signing Young?
A: We needed a right-handed bat. I mean, he’s going to play outfield for us. I’m coming in to win a job. That’s it. No worries.

Q: Does switching positions matter?
A: It doesn’t matter. Whatever I need to do for the team. It really doesn’t matter.

Q: What do you need to work on to be a starting, everyday player?
A: What do I need to work on? I don’t know man. They say defensively, I don’t know though. I’m just going to go out, keep having fun and really not worry about anything. If I get sent down, that’ll be that, too. I’ll just go down and work hard. And that’s it.

Q: So it’s your defense?
A: No, I’m not saying that at all. I’m just telling what you guys say. I really don’t think that at all. I don’t think so. If I get 4-500 at-bats I think I can show what I’m really capable of doing.

Q: Are you waiting for that opportunity to get an opportunity to do that over a full season?
A: You know what? I’ve been waiting for that for a long time. When I get that opportunity, getting that like I did at the second half of last year, see what I’m capable of in 4-500 at-bats.

Q: How healthy are you?
A: I’m ready to go

Q: Is this one of your last shots to win a job?
A: I don’t know. We’ll leave that up to Ruben, man. He makes the decisions. I’ve still got one more option, so we’ll see what happens.

Q: Can you hit left-handed pitching well enough?
A: If you check the stats coming through the minor leagues with 400, 500 at-bats, you’ll see how Domonic Brown hits lefties better than righties. I don’t think that’s ever been a problem.

Q: Do you feel you haven’t gotten the chance to show your best?
A: I’m not saying that. We’ve had some tough times. We’ve had some injuries. We had some big guys in the lineup that needed to play. So when I got called up it was a time for 100, 200 at-bats, that was the most I had. And that’s been it. I’m just saying I hope I can get a full season under my belt.

Q: Does the talk about your defense motivate you?
A: Oh yeah, I use everything as motivation. I’ve been through a lot of tough times growing up. This stuff really isn’t that big a deal. Really. Seriously. I’m just having fun playing baseball and that’s really it.

Q: Do you think injuries have been more a part of it?
A: That’s been the biggest thing. That’s really what I want to focus on this year, just staying healthy. The last three years I’ve fought a couple injury bugs. I think that’s been the setback.

Q: How would you describe what you’ve been through?
A: I’ve been through a lot, but still at the end of the day there are much more positive things than negative. It all balances out and I throw those little negative things in the garbage because I know the positive stuff is a lot. I’ve been through a lot, but I’ve had a lot of great moments.

Q: How strange is it to go from touted prospect to doubted prospect?
A: I don’t know, nan. I think there are a lot of other teams that still want me. That’s just how it is in a big market. You have to go out and perform and if you don’t, then usually they get rid of you. I’m not even going to lie to you. I thought I’d have been gone a long time ago, not because of my performance, but because of the guys they could have got for me. I don’t even look at the trade talk anymore because normally I’m in every trade talk.

Amaro Not Ready to Draw Conclusions Based on One Month

Ruben Amaro Jr. and the rest of the Phillies front office are evaluating every inning of every game the rest of the season.

They are far from ready to draw conclusions.

Domonic Brown has hit .267 (20-for-75) with five doubles and 10 RBIs in 21 games. Kevin Frandsen has hit .350 (28-for-50) with two doubles, one triple, one home run and seven RBIs in 21 games. Erik Kratz has hit .292 (19-for-65) with seven doubles, seven home runs and 16 RBIs in 26 games. Left-hander Jeremy Horst is 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA in 16 appearances.

They are solid performances, but it makes little sense for the Phillies to anoint anybody anything – from backup catcher to left-hander in the 2013 bullpen – based on less than a month’s worth of games.

“They haven’t pitched a ton and they haven’t played a ton,” Amaro said today. “They’ve only played a couple weeks. They’ve done a nice job. I don’t want to take away from the job they’ve done, but you have to understand that two weeks does not make or break you. I had a nice two weeks in my career and then I stunk. I think these guys are probably better players than I am, but everybody likes to jump on the bandwagon, plus or minus. I think we have to show some patience there.”

The Phillies entered tonight’s game against the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park with 39 games to play. They will get the opportunity to take a closer look at everybody in those games, but the evaluation process will continue in the offseason and very likely through the closing days of Spring Training 2013.

“Domonic has had about as good as a consistent approach as anybody on our club,” Amaro said. “He and Frandsen have been putting together the best overall at-bats as far as controlling the strike zone and swinging at strikes.”

And the lack of power from Brown so far?

“He’s got a lot of natural power and raw power,” Amaro continued. “I’m not worried about that. It always comes late with young players. Very, very rarely does consistent power come in the Major Leagues when they’re young. He’s been fine in the outfield, too. He’s not a finished product yet. He’s still learning. But I have a lot of confidence he can be an everyday rightfielder or leftfielder.”

Amaro likes what he has seen from Frandsen and Kratz, commending them for making the most of their opportunity. He stopped short of saying either would be on the bench next season, again, because they need to see more.

“It’s a possibility,” Amaro said of Kratz’s chances as a backup. “We’ll continue to watch him play.”

There has been an interesting fascination with fans regarding former infielder Wilson Valdez in Philadelphia. The Phillies traded him to the Reds in the offseason for Horst. Earlier this season even Amaro said he wished he had kept Valdez, but in retrospect it looks like a good trade.

“Guys like Horst and (Raul) Valdes have performed well and much more consistently than some of the other guys in the bullpen, but some other guys have pretty good arms,” he said. “They haven’t really pitched enough to make a decision one way or the other.”

Lee Could Be Back Next Week

Cliff Lee could be back in the Phillies rotation early next week.

Today he threw his first bullpen session since straining his left oblique April 18 in San Francisco. Lee reported no pain. He said if he feels fine tomorrow, he is scheduled to throw a second bullpen session Saturday. Assuming that goes well, he could pitch for the Phillies a few days later at Citizens Bank Park.

“I feel good about it,” Lee said. “If things go well, it’s one more bullpen and then the game. That’s the plan for now, but that’s all flexible.”

Lee said he has been pain-free recently.

“It did linger a little bit,” he said. “But it’s slowly gotten better. But the last two days have been drastically better than the four or five days before that. It just kind of plateaud and stayed the same. But the last two has been good.”

Asked if it is safe to say the problem is gone, Lee said, “Everything throw, I didn’t feel anything. There are a couple exercises I do where I can barely feel it, but compared to how it was before it’s pretty safe to say it’s on its way to being gone.”

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Domonic Brown strained his left hamstring today in Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He is day to day.

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Right-hander David Herndon has a strained pronator tendon. He is not throwing for three weeks.

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The guys at Phillies Nation TV had me on this week to talk about The Rotation. Check it out!

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here! Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • May 10: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.
  • June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter.has a strained pronator tendon. He is not throwing for three weeks.

Going the Wrong Way

Good morning from Arizona.

A few thoughts/facts on one of baseball’s worst offenses through 16 games:

  • The Phillies have a .283 on-base percentage, .317 slugging percentage and 2.69 runs per game average. No team (in either league) has finished a season with a lower OBP since the 1968 Mets (.281), a lower SLG since the 1972 Rangers (.290) or a lower runs per game average since the 1942 Phillies (2.61). So unless you think the 2012 Phillies are one of the worst offenses in baseball history, they will improve. But how much? And will it happen in enough time to make a difference?
  • The Phillies have scored two or fewer runs in 10 games, and in 5 of their last 6.
  • We could see Chase Utley at the ballpark today, while Ryan Howard is scheduled to see a wound specialist in Philadelphia. Is there any shot the Phillies get good news from both?
  • I’m an Utley skeptic at this point because he proved to be no better than an average big-league hitter last season. It’s just difficult to believe he will return to All-Star form when he is still battling the same knee problems. (His .769 OPS last year would have ranked 77th out of 146 hitters had he qualified for the statistic.) But here’s something interesting: From April 1 through May 22 last season without Utley in the lineup, the Phillies averaged 3.83 runs per game with a .312 OBP and .364 SLG. From May 23 through July 29 with Utley in the lineup, the Phillies averaged 4.71 runs per game with a .329 OBP and .407 SLG. And from July 30 through the end of the regular season with Utley and Hunter Pence in the lineup, the Phillies averaged 4.54 runs per game with a .324 OBP and a .406 SLG. It is possible even an average Utley can make that much of a difference in the lineup’s performance? It’s something worth thinking about.
  • Jim Thome has 2 hits and 9 strikeouts in 16 at-bats. I’ve had fans ask me if they think he is finished. But I’ve got a crazy idea: Play Thome more. If Charlie Manuel believes Thome needs more at-bats, which he said yesterday, then give them to him. What does Manuel have to lose? There had been talk in spring training that Thome might be able to play as many as two games in the field every week. Maybe even three. What happened to that? Thome has started just three times this season. If Thome plays more and his back flares up, it’s not like his absence is going to kill the offense, as little as he has played and as little as he has contributed as a pinch-hitter. (He’s 0-for-7 with 5 strikeouts as a pinch-hitter.) And as much as Thome has struck out, he also has given the Phillies some of their most “professional” at-bats. He is averaging 4.50 pitches per plate appearance. The next closest Phillies players with 16 or more at-bats are Juan Pierre (4.02) and Placido Polanco (3.94). So turn Thome loose. Let’s see how much he has left in the tank. If he produces, great. If he can’t handle the job physically or he continues to struggle, well, then you know.
  • Oh, and when Thome starts hit him fourth and Pence third. Maybe Pence would be more comfortable hitting somewhere other than cleanup. He has never hit more than 25 homers or had more than 97 RBIs in a season. Cleanup isn’t his spot, at least when Thome is playing.
  • I’ve gotten lots of e-mails and tweets about Domonic Brown, but he is hitting just .263 (15-for-57) with four doubles, one triple and eight RBIs in 15 games with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He has a .311 on-base percentage and a .368 slugging percentage. As much as John Mayberry Jr. has struggled, I can’t see the Phillies considering Brown as the solution in left field with a .680 OPS in Triple-A.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here! Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.
  • April 29: Citizens Bank Park, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
  • May 10: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.
  • June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter.

Dom Down

The Phillies optioned Domonic Brown to Minor League camp this morning.

Brown had trouble getting on the field this month. He sprained his right thumb March 8 and suffered from a stiff neck for the past week, limiting him to just seven Grapefruit League games. He hit .300 (6 for 20) with two triples, one home run, two RBIs, one walk and a .983 OPS, but also showed he needed more work in left field, which has been a struggle.

Brown, although not surprised, was clearly disappointed.

“Life goes on,” he said. “I’m going to go down there and play hard. And that’s it. I was not expecting it, but keeping it in the back of my mind. We’ve got a lot of big-name free agent guys. John Mayberry is playing well. They just told me they want to see me out there every day, so Triple-A is the best spot for it. I’ve been through a lot these last couple years. A lot more than some veteran guys, so I think I can deal with it. I think I can handle it. Go down there and play hard and that’s all I can do.”

The Phillies said in the offseason they planned to have Brown start the season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he can work on his offense and defense. The Phillies believe they have enough options in left field to open the season, even with Mayberry expected to play some first base while Ryan Howard is out. Laynce Nix and Juan Pierre, who is the favorite to be the team’s fifth outfielder, can play left field when Mayberry is at first.

Asked if playing in Triple-A will at least give him a clear mind, Brown said, “No, I wanted to be here, man. That’s the goal, but things happen.”

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 2: Barnes & Noble in Plymouth Meeting, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 3: Chester County Book Company in West Chester, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.

Brown Could Be Back Next Week

Well, it could have been worse …

Domonic Brown said this morning at Bright House Field that a MRI exam showed only inflammation in his sprained right thumb. Brown sprained the thumb while diving for a ball in a game Monday.

He said he could be back playing in Grapefruit League games next week.

“That bottom hand is tough, especially when it’s swollen,” Brown said. “If it was the top hand I probably could have played. I’ll be fine.”

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The Phillies are in Lakeland today, playing the Tigers. Roy Halladay is on the mound, and here is the rest of the Phillies lineup:

  1. Tyson Gillies, CF
  2. Scott Podsednik, LF
  3. Ty Wigginton, 1B
  4. Hunter Pence, RF
  5. Laynce Nix, DH
  6. Carlos Ruiz, C
  7. Hector Luna, 3B
  8. Pete Orr, 2B
  9. Freddy Galvis, SS

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!

Baseball America’s Top 10 Phillies Prospects

Here’s a look at Baseball America’s Top 10 Phillies prospects.

Trevor May is No. 1 on this list as Domonic Brown no longer qualifies.

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The Blue Jays have hired Chuck LaMar as special assistant to the GM.

Werth Thinks Pence Is A Good Fit

Jayson Werth was relaxing in the Nationals clubhouse this afternoon with Magnus, his four-month-old Great Dane, when Hunter Pence’s name came up.

“I’m happy for Hunter,” Werth said. “That’s an enviable position to be in. I know firsthand what that’s like.

“Immediately, when I heard it I thought about him going from Houston to Philadelphia. I don’t know how much fun they were having over there (in Houston), but I do know how much fun those guys have over there, what that clubhouse is like, the chemistry, the camaraderie. I know how well a guy like that will fit in. I immediately thought about how much fun he was going to have. I’m happy for him. He’s a good player.”

Werth knows Pence a bit from being on the 2009 National League All-Star team. He said he has spoken with Pence a couple times since his arrival in Philadelphia.

“He seems like a good fit,” he said.

So no more wistful thoughts about Philadelphia or how it should have been him? The Phillies essentially got Pence because they did not find anybody to replace his production in right field. They started the season with Ben Francisco before moving to Domonic Brown.

“Not really,” Werth said. “It was more like, I knew what he was about to get himself into. It kind of made me smile.”

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Pence, Pence, Pence

Here’s my story on the Hunter Pence trade.

And here’s a few quotes from a few of the people we heard from last night:

RUBEN AMARO JR.

On why they wanted Pence:
“We tried to address a need we felt was a missing piece. We believe in our offense as it stands. It has been a little inconsistent … not as consistent as it has been in the past. I think this give us a little bit more balance with a hitter from the right side for Charlie’s lineup. But not only that I think we acquired in a lot of ways somebody that is extremely well rounded, the type of player that we’d like to have here in Philadelphia. There are a lot of elements that are involved here, but clearly the way this guy plays, the way he goes about his business, the effort, the kind of teammate he is and the fact we have him under control for not only the end of this year, but for two more years. Those are very big factors for us. His defense is important for us. The fact that he runs well. He’s got speed. He’s a very, very good athlete. There’s a lot of things that factored onto this one.”

On Domonic Brown’s future with the Phillies:
“We believe Domonic Brown is going to be an outstanding Major League Baseball player. He’s kind of learning on the job as we’ve talked about before. He’s done a nice job for us here. It’s not a knock on Domonic Brown by any stretch of the imagination. We believe and hope he’s going to be a Phillie for a long time. I think for us, again, it’s one of those moves we made for the present, but for the future. Certainly, Dom is part of that.”

On having Pence under their control through 2013 being a big factor in this trade:
“It’s a huge element in it. I think control is a good part. If you know the way we operate … I don’t like rentals. I don’t believe in those. I guess there is a time and place to go that route. In this case as in most case, if you look at the trades we’ve made, very few of them were your classic rental. Certainly that’s a huge element for us in that transaction.”

On chances they make another move before Sunday’s deadline:
“We’ll keep our minds open, but right now I’m very comfortable with our ballclub.”

CHASE UTLEY

On adding a bat like Pence when they already have the best record in baseball:
“I think our front office knows we’re in a special time here in Philadelphia. We have a good team and if they feel like there’s some room for improvement they’re going to make that move. … Prior to the trade we had a pretty good team. I think adding him, a power right-handed bat can definitely help us.”

ROY HALLADAY
On getting Pence when they have the best record in baseball:
“It’s a good feeling, even just knowing they’re out there and they’re trying. Especially being in the position we are. We’re five, six games up and they’re still trying to make us a better team. I think that’s one of the biggest reasons I was adamant on trying to come here. You want to be on the team that’s always trying to get better. … I’m really excited. To be on a team that is trying to give you the best chance to win that they can it’s a lot of fun. Even if they didn’t you know Ruben is going to do everything he can to make us better. Just that in itself means a lot. I can’t wait. We’ve got a good team here and when you’re able to add good players to a good team it makes it a lot of fun.”

DOMONIC BROWN
On any relief he wasn’t traded:
“Uh, I mean, yeah, but anything can still happen. We’ve still got until Sunday. I don’t know. I just hope I’m here. I just hope I’m here and not in Triple-A, but if that was to happen, just go out and play. It’s all I can do.”

On his concern going back to Triple-A:
“Not really concerned, but I would like to be here. That’s the goal.”

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