Domonic Brown set to begin minor league rehab assignment

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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.

Umpire ejects Adrian Beltre for moving on-deck circle

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As far as ejections go, this is one of the stranger ones you’ll hear about. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was ejected in the bottom of the eighth inning of a game his team trailed at the time 18-6. Beltre was a few feet away from the circle towards home plate and was asked by Marlins pitcher Drew Steckenrider to get into the circle. So rather than step a few feet back to his right, Beltre picked up the circle and dragged it to where he was. And that got him ejected by second base umpire Gerry Davis. Manager Jeff Banister was also ejected after having a word with Davis.

Here’s a video from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Beltre, by the way, went 3-for-3 with a walk, a pair of doubles, and a solo home run. He’s now four hits away from 3,000 for his career.

Video: Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford hits an inside-the-park grand slam

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Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford’s stock has fallen sharply this season. He had an abysmal first three months, batting .203/.321/.276 in 291 plate appearances. Baseball America rated him the 12th overall prospect in baseball going into the season and rated him No. 92 in their midseason top 100. It was bad.

Since the calendar turned to July, however, Crawford has been more like his normal self. In 92 at-bats this month entering Wednesday night’s action, he was hitting .300/.391/.650 with six home runs, 13 RBI, 18 runs scored, and a terrific 15/12 K/BB ratio.

Crawford padded his stats more on Wednesday night as he circled the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam. Via the IronPigs Twitter:

Crawford was actually dead-to-rights at home, but he fooled the catcher with a great late slide.

Crawford finished 1-for-3 with a walk along with the slam on the night as the IronPigs beat the Gwinnett Braves 8-2.