Friday, February 12, 2016

Game 51: Brown sits again, but Manuel endorses him

NEW YORK -- A week from today, the Phillies will have an interesting roster move to make. If all goes well in Shane Victorino's rehab from a strained right hamstring, he will be activated June 3.

Game 51: Brown sits again, but Manuel endorses him

Domonic Brown will not start Friday night´s game against the Mets. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Domonic Brown will not start Friday night's game against the Mets. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

NEW YORK -- A week from today, the Phillies will have an interesting roster move to make. If all goes well in Shane Victorino's rehab from a strained right hamstring, he will be activated June 3.

The question is, who goes?

At first glance, Michael Martinez makes sense. The Rule 5 pick has stuck around this long without any overwhelming performance. If he clears waivers, the Phillies must offer him back to the Washington Nationals for $25,000.

But if Martinez goes, that puts six outfielders on the 25-man roster. (We are counting Ross Gload as an outfielder even though he can play first. But we're not even sure how much time in the field Gload can handle with his hip injury.) That means Wilson Valdez is the only backup infielder.

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If the Phillies want Chase Utley to have regular rest, Valdez would start and that leaves no other infielders available without Martinez.

Both Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr. have options remaining. Brown is sitting again Friday with another lefthanded starter on the mound and the Phillies are scheduled to face two more lefties in the next five days.

Brown had an impressive Thursday, going 2 for 4 with a double, single and a walk but was still held out of the lineup.

Charlie Manuel strongly hinted Brown is not going anywhere.

"First of all, we brought Domonic up here and he's going to get a chance to play," Manuel said. "We're going to get a look at him. Yeah, he has to hold his own and stuff like that. But I would never, ever send him a message that we're going to send him down, or that we're thinking about sending him down. Because I'm not thinking that way at all."

As assistant general manager Scott Proefrock pointed out, "If they're all here, somebody's not getting at-bats." By keeping Martinez, no one is losing at-bats.

Both Manuel and Rich Dubee said the team is not comfortable going with an 11-man pitching staff.

So does that mean Mayberry could go down? I'd say it's possible reading the tea leaves. This next week of games could decide a lot.


Brad Lidge takes a big step Saturday: He will throw in his first extended spring training game. Lidge will probably need eight to 10 outings like a regular spring training before he's ready. So he's still a bit away.


Wilson Valdez's hat from the 19-inning game is headed to Cooperstown for inclusion in the Hall of Fame's regular exhibits. That's pretty cool for a 33-year-old journeyman from the Dominican Republic who had never played more than 51 games in a season until last year.

Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.

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