Phillies Won't Force Brown

Outfielder not a lock to make Opening Day roster





PHILADELPHIA—The Phillies were hopeful that winter ball would be a good developmental exercise for top prospect Domonic Brown. The team planned to monitor his progress closely as it assessed whether he'd be ready for regular duty in Philadelphia in April.

So much for that idea. Brown left the Escogido club in the Dominican League after nine games and two hits in 29 at-bats. Phillies officials said Brown was healthy but felt tired and sluggish after a long season that included time in Double-A, Triple-A and the majors.

"We wanted to get him home and get him ready for spring training," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.

Brown's departure gave Amaro the chance to reiterate that Brown is not a shoo-in to succeed Jayson Werth in right field in 2011. In fact, Amaro went from saying that Brown had to earn a job in spring training to strongly suggesting that the five-tool prospect needed more time in Triple-A.

"If we had our druthers, I think we'd rather put Domonic in a position to get the at-bats he kind of lost last year and prepare himself better, work on his outfield play, baserunning, those sorts of things," Amaro said. "In a perfect world, we don't need Domonic to make our club unless he really shows us in spring training that he's ready to take that next step."

Brown, 23, hit .327/.391/.589 with 20 homers and 68 RBIs in 93 games in the minors in 2010. Forced to the majors after an injury to Shane Victorino in July, he had just 62 at-bats and hit .210/.257/.355 the rest of the season.
Amaro doesn't regret bringing Brown to the majors.

"Unfortunately, from a player-development standpoint, Domonic didn't benefit physically from being in the big leagues as long as he was," Amaro said. "But it was a good experience for him to be involved in a pennant race. Makeup-wise, there can be growth when you're around that environment."

PHIL-UPS

• The Phils signed veteran righthander Brian Bass to a minor league deal with an invite to big league camp. Bass, who spent most of 2008-2009 in the majors with Minnesota and Baltimore, was a Pirate in 2010.

• Chris Truby will manage low Class A Lakewood after two seasons leading Williamsport of the short-season New York-Penn League.