Manager Ryne Sandberg revealed his short-term solution to his on-going problem in left field Thursday afternoon simply by filling out his lineup card. Meanwhile, at double-A Reading, Jesse Biddle has been placed on the temporary inactive list.
The day after his fourth-inning misplay in left field resulted in three runs during the Phillies' 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins, Domonic Brown's name was notably absent from Sandberg's lineup card. John Mayberry Jr. got the start in place of Brown, who has struggled in the field and at the plate this season. It was the second time in three games that Brown was not in the starting lineup.
The 26-year-old outfielder was a member of the National League all-star team last season, but he entered play Thursday hitting .217 with five home runs and 32 RBIs. His .593 OPS ranked 163rd among the 167 big-league players with enough at-bats to qualify for a batting title.
Instead of preparing to start the game, Brown spent extra time in the batting cage with hitting instructor Steve Henderson throwing to him Thursday afternoon. He also had a conversation with his manager.
"I had a good conversation with him about making adjustments and then applying them ... both on the offensive side and the defensive side," Sandberg said.
Offensively, Sandberg said Brown has too much upper cut in his swing.
"He's really developed an upper-cut swing and he's just missing too many of his pitches and it puts him in a hole in a lot of at-bats," the manager said.
Sandberg conceded that instincts can help a player defensively and Brown seems to lack some of those instincts. Still, the manager said there are things that can be improved through preparation and focus.
"I don't know if you can teach all of the instincts, but you can teach game situations and anticipating balls, expecting balls to be hit to you on every pitch," Sandberg said. "That's a discipline, that's a focus. A little bit of that might be instincts, but the other part of that is just an all-out focus and discipline and practice."
Down at double-A Reading, the FightinPhils sent out a release that Biddle has been placed on the temporary inactive list. No immediate reason was given for the decision, but the 22-year-old lefthander was in the midst of a terrible pitching slump. He was 0-4 with a 12.64 ERA in his last four starts. The Phillies' 2010 first-round pick out of Germantown Friends HIgh School is 3-9 overall with a 5.03 ERA in 15 starts.
He was assigned to Reading for a second staright season this year after going 5-14 with a 3.64 ERA last season. The FightinPhils also announced that outfielder Jiwan James has been released.James, 25, was a 22nd-round pick in 2007 who tried to convert from being a pitcher to an outfielder earlier in his career and at one time was considered a bright prospect in the organization.