It appeared that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel tipped his hand on the favorite for the starting right field job earlier today, telling reporters that top prospect Domonic Brown “is sort of the first choice there.”
According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhiladelphia.com, the skipper later had to clarify his comments.
“I should have been a little more specific,” the Phillies manager said. “By ‘first choice’ I mean I want to put him out there and play him a lot. He’s going to get a lot of at-bats [in spring training]. That job is up for grabs.”
Yeah, sure. Whatever you say, Charlie.
Some believe that the Phillies might be hesitant to anoint Brown as Jayson Werth’s replacement because he struggled in the Dominican Winter League after batting .210 with a 24/5 K/BB ratio in limited playing time with the Phillies last season. There’s probably some truth to that, but I’m of the opinion that they want to create some competition rather than hand him the job outright.
We aren’t going to learn anything about John Mayberry Jr. and Ben Francisco in the next 45 days that we don’t know already. The Phillies are smarter than that, right? This could all change if he goes 0-for-March, but I expect Brown to be on the Opening Day roster and at minimum, start everyday against right-handed pitching.
Reds lefty Brandon Finnegan exited Monday afternoon’s start against the Cardinals in the fourth inning with an apparent shoulder injury. He grimaced after throwing a pitch and promptly walked off the field without even trying to throw a warmup pitch. In three-plus innings, Finnegan allowed three runs on three hits and four walks with two strikeouts on 58 pitches.
Finnegan, 24, was making his first start since April 15. He had been dealing with a strained left trapezius muscle.
The Reds should have more information on Finnegan’s status later tonight. Given how Finnegan acted after throwing his final pitch, a stint on the disabled list looks likely.
The Rays have acquired shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from the Marlins, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. The Marlins will receive minor league outfielder Braxton Lee and pitcher Ethan Clark. The Rays are expected to assume the remainder of Hechavarria’s $4.35 million salary for the 2017 season.
Hechavarria, 28, has only played in 20 games this season due to an oblique injury. He has mustered a meager .277/.288/.385 triple-slash line with four extra-base hits and six RBI across 67 plate appearances. He still plays decent defense, though, so that may be enough for him to take the everyday shortstop job in Tampa.
Lee, 23, was selected by the Rays in the 12th round of the 2014 draft. This season with Double-A Montgomery, his second stint there, Lee hit .318/.387/.391 over 296 PA.
Clark, 22, was taken in the 15th round of the 2015 draft by the Rays. In his first stint at Single-A in Bowling Green, Clark has a 3.11 ERA with a 50/18 K/BB ratio in 55 innings of work.