Domonic Brown was on the verge of replacing Jayson Werth as the Phillies’ starting right fielder when the 23-year-old top prospect suffered a broken hamate bone in mid-March.
His comeback took a big step yesterday as Brown homered twice in an extended spring training game and Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that he’s scheduled to begin a minor-league rehab assignment today.
He’ll start out at high Single-A and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was noncommittal when asked if Brown would be promoted to the majors once the maximum 20-day rehab stint was completed, saying: “He could. It all depends on how he plays.”
Brown’s injury opened the door for Ben Francisco to hit .262 with four homers and a .775 OPS in 23 games as Philadelphia’s primary right fielder and there were questions about Brown’s big-league readiness even before the broken hamate bone, so it won’t be surprising if the Phillies option him back to Triple-A once the rehab assignment is finished. If healthy though, Brown should quickly make it pretty clear that he has nothing left to prove in the minors after hitting .327 with a .980 OPS between Double-A and Triple-A last year.
The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.
A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.