Mike Schmidt wants to help Domonic Brown

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Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown is coming off of an abysmal 2014 performance in which he finished with a .235/.285/.349 slash line. Not exactly the kind of follow-up to his All-Star 2013 output the Phillies were expecting. With Marlon Byrd gone, Brown is moving across the outfield back to right field, and he’ll be fighting for a starting role with the Phillies for the foreseeable future.

Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt is hoping to work with Brown over the course of the spring in an effort to help him live up to his potential and perhaps even win the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award. Via MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki:

“I know his history. I watched a great majority of his at-bats last year. I hope to get him to open up a bit in talking and trusting [me]. I’m not going to try to impart any mechanical things that I did as a right-handed power hitter. I searched for the ball with my hands. Domonic is more of a rotational, sit-on-the-back-leg guy. The core makes the swing happen.

Domonic needs to be challenged to get back to where he was. But at the same time, not told he’s bad or regressing. Search for positives. I wouldn’t call it starting over. [I would tell him] ‘Get this in your mind: I’m going to win the Comeback Player of the Year Award, starting now.'”

Though Schmidt insists it was just coincidence, Brown hit a home run in mid-June last season only minutes after having flagged down Schmidt for advice. Schmidt told Brown to use his top hand more. Brown then tagged Cubs starter Edwin Jackson for a lead-extending three-run home run. It would seem that if anyone could get the most out of Brown, it’s Schmidt.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.