Minor league updates and other Tuesday morning riff-raff

Domonic Brown is starting his rehab with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

For the same cost as a stale cylinder of excess animal parts on Dollar Dog Night, you can pick up today's copy of the Daily News and get all of your Phillies minor league coverage in one disposable, easy-to-handle, restroom-ready package. If it doesn't feel the same without an eight-dollar beer, go ahead and get yourself a handle of Old Grandad and make a day out of it. Ed Barkowitz and Joe Berekery, known throughout the industry as the Woodward and Bernstein of the South Atlantic League, have been doing a great job with our weekly minor league page, and today is no exception. Eddie B. catches up with Lakewood pitcher Colby Shreve for a Q and A, while Joe Berekery has updates from across the system. I don't know if you'll find better minor league coverage anywhere on the Internet, at least not anywhere that rhymes with Lilly.com.

Me? I'll be satisfied with being the Irwin Fletcher of the International League, which is where the Northeast Extension dumped me yesterday afternoon on the Phillies' day off. I arrived hoping to land an interview with fellow Poconoian Nate Bump, but I ended up running into top outfield prospect Domonic Brown, who had just been activated from the disabled list and was making his 2011 Triple-A debut. Who knew? In an exclusive interview with the Daily News (and five other writers, and a couple of television cameras), Brown said pretty much exactly what you would expect him to say: He'd love to get back to Philly but for now is concentrating on bringing an International League pennant home to Allentown, which at this point is known mostly for being the city that Billy Joel was able to rhyme with "Pennsylvania we never found" (Chamber of Commerce Welcome Sign: "Come for the Iron Pigs, Stay for the rhyming couplets!").

Brown went 1-for-5 with a run last night, but was upstaged by another player who was also fresh off the disabled list: Brian Bocock went 2-for-3 with two RBI.

Other minutiae on this Tuesday morning:

1) The following fact is probably meaningless, but I wasted 10 minutes looking it up, so I'm going to share it with you anyway. The top four teams in the National League at the end of April were the Phillies, Rockies, Marlins and Cardinals. Only three times in the last 10 seasons has a team that finished April with one of the top four records in the league gone on to play in the World Series: the Giants last season, the Phillies in 2009, and the Cardinals in 2006. In fact, of the 40 teams that have finished April in the Top 4 over the last 10 seasons, only 15 have even qualified for the postseason.

2) More info that is probably meaningless: Jayson Werth, who returns to Philadelphia tonight for the first time in six months, is hitting .233/.325/.417 with four home runs, two steals and 23 strikeouts in 117 plate appearances in his first 27 games with the Nationals. Last year through 27 games, he was hitting .337/.405/.600 with four home runs, one steal and 26 strikeouts in 111 plate appearances. In 2009, he was hitting .289/.397/.577 with six home runs, three steals and 20 strikeouts in 116 plate appearances.

3) Ross Gload is expected to be back with the Phillies today. In yesterday's blog post, I wrote that he was expected to be back with the team on Wednesday, but I also spent all day yesterday thinking it was Tuesday. This is what happens when night games are played on Sundays.

4) The Phillies are still No. 1 in ESPN's latest power rankings. Colorado is No. 4, Florida is No. 6, St. Louis is No. 8, and every other team in the National League is No. 30.

5) Just a thought: A couple weeks ago in Washington, Charlie Manuel pinch-hit John Mayberry Jr. against National righty Livan Hernandez, saying he liked the way Mayberry matched up against him. With Raul Ibanez riding an 0-for-34 slump, might Manuel get Mayberry another start tonight? Probably not. Like I said, it was just a thought. But I wouldn't be surprised to see Ross Gload get a start at some point this week in right field.

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