Phillies Try Brown In Center Field At Triple-A

PHILADELPHIA—An interesting thing happened to Domonic Brown in his transition from right field to left: He's become a center fielder.

Phillies officials started taking a look at Brown at the position in late May.

"We don't see him as an everyday center fielder," assistant general manager Benny Looper said. "We still think he profiles as a corner outfielder. We want him to get some experience in center in case we ever needed someone to fill in there. We think he can do it on a short-term basis."

The Phillies' outfield could be in flux in seasons to come as Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence reach free agency, respectively, following this season and next.

Brown last played center field in 2008, appearing there in 69 games for low Class A Lakewood, but he moved full-time to right after that. He shifted to left after Philadelphia acquired Pence last July.

The Phillies sent Brown back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season to regain lost development time. Farm director Joe Jordan suggested Brown get some time in center after seeing him shag balls at the position during batting practice. Jordan was impressed with the way the athletic 24-year-old chased down balls.

"I've seen him power-shag and he does go after it," Looper said.

Defense has been a weakness for Brown, but Looper said he's seen improvement this season. His bat also had improved as the season progressed. Brown batted .300/.364/.575 with three homers in 11 June games.

The Phillies resisted the temptation to bring Brown up because, as assistant GM Scott Proefrock said, "We want him to have some sustained success. His whole game needs a chance to continue to progress."

Any lingering temptations were put to rest when Brown suffered a strained right knee in mid-June, an injury that could require two weeks to heal.

When Brown returns, he will continue to get reps in center field. But it appears to be just a detour on his way to a corner outfield spot.


• Double-A Reading center fielder Tyson Gillies, who missed extensive time with hamstring issues the last two seasons, went on the disabled list on May 26 after suffering a concussion in an outfield collision. He batted .280/.354/.423 in 168 at-bats prior to going down.

• Center fielder Zach Collier, the 34th overall pick in 2008, hit .359/.394/.500 in his first 16 games at high Class A Clearwater. He missed the first 50 games while serving a suspension for testing positive for an amphetamine.