The Phillies were ready to hand starting right field duties to Domonic Brown this season before he suffered a broken hamate bone in the middle of spring training and required surgery.
The 23-year-old is finally healthy again and possibly closing in quickly on a return to the major leagues.
According to Danny Wild, who covers the minor leagues for MLB.com, Brown launched a 400-foot home run and finished 2-for-4 on Wednesday afternoon at Single-A Clearwater. It was his first minor league rehab game since the injury.
“It feels pretty good, I’m almost at 100 percent,” Brown said. “It just feels good to get back out there getting into games. The Phillies thought it was time to progress a bit.”
Ben Francisco has drawn most of the action in right field so far this year for the Phillies and is currently sporting a decent .261/.327/.455 batting line with four homers and 16 RBI. If he continues to play well, the Phils might have Brown spend more than a week or two getting his timing right on the farm.
Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.
Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.
Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.
Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.