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.