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.
Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.
The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner announced the news Saturday on his Instagram account in a 1½-minute video.
“In my simulated game a couple days ago, I felt something in my elbow, and after looking at my MRI and conversing with some of the best doctors in the world, we’ve determined that Tommy John surgery is my best option,” Verlander said.
He threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. He threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.
“I tried as hard as I could to come back and play this season,” Verlander said. “Unfortunately, my body just didn’t cooperate.”
Verlander has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 2019.
“Obviously, this is not good news,” Verlander said. “However, I’m going to handle this the only way I know how. I’m optimistic. I’m going to put my head down, work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully, come out the other side better for it.
“I truly believe everything that everything happens for a reason, and although 2020 has sucked, hopefully, when this rehab process is all said and done, this will allow me to charge through the end of my career and be healthy as long as I want and pitch as long as I want and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career.”
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