MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Before Domonic Brown was promoted to the majors, Ruben Amaro Jr. said he would only bring his top prospect up if he could play every day.
Now that Brown has spent a week in the majors, Charlie Manuel sees it a bit differently. He has repeatedly said he wants to ease Brown into the majors. He has rested Brown against two lefthanded starters so far and will continue to do that on occasion. Brown will play 60 to 70 percent of the time, Manuel estimated.
"His development is very important to us, but I also want to win the game," Manuel said. "That's what we're all about. Our goal is to get back to the World Series. But at the same time, when we turn him loose, I want to make sure he's ready."
After week one, it's hard to argue against Manuel's plan. Brown has looked shaky at times, but he's hitting .273 (6 for 22) and has six RBIs in six games. He has struck out six times and has yet to walk. Pitchers are mostly throwing inside to Brown, who has an open stance with his bat cocked high into the air. Inside breaking balls have been particularly bothersome to Brown.
That's what made Brown's third plate appearance Wednesday night all the more impressive. With the bases loaded and one out, Marlins interim manager Edwin Rodriguez brought in a lefthander, Taylor Tankersley. Brown had been 1 for 9 against lefties entering the at-bat.
Manuel stuck with Brown and the rookie hit the third pitch from Tankersley, an inside slider, deep to right for a sacrifice fly.
The manager said he sat down with Brown when he was called up and told him he will pinch hit for the rookie in certain situations, say when a lefty comes in late in a game. Manuel said he held off on doing that Wednesday because it was only the fifth inning.
In the field, Brown's throw to nail Gaby Sanchez at home plate was impressive. But you can see how raw Brown is defensively on some of the routes he takes to fly balls. There is some refining needed.
"He took a couple of interesting routes," Manuel said, "but you know what? He caught them. That one ball in the gap, he ran down, he had some crazy legs on that one."