Brown leaves winter ball

Domonic Brown had 2 hits in 29 at-bats in nine games in the Dominican Republic. (David M Warren/Staff Photographer )

After Domonic Brown sat on the bench for much of August and September, the Phillies sent their top prospect and possible starting rightfielder to the Dominican Republic this winter to make up for some lost playing time.

Nine games into his stint with Escogido, Brown is returning home.

The team's website said Saturday that Brown traveled back to the United States after hitting just .069 (2 for 29) in those nine games.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Saturday night that Brown was feeling tired and sluggish and the Phillies decided to pull him from the Dominican League.

Brown began hitting third in Escogido's order but was soon dropped to seventh, then eighth and then completely out of the lineup.

This, of course, will set off alarms through the Phillies' fan base. But a shaky winter notwithstanding, Brown still has a great shot of being the one to primarily replace Jayson Werth, should the outfielder sign elsewhere as expected. The last few months just haven't gone according to plan for the Phillies and their top prospect.

A good spring training can change all of that.

Earlier in the week, Amaro downplayed Brown's struggles in the Dominican. It was, he said, a small sample size. (And he's right in that respect.)

"It does take a little time to get going, and this is a very talented kid," Amaro said earlier in the week. "He'll produce for them once he gets his legs underneath him."
The chance for that, apparently, will not happen.