Brown sent to minors; Utley, Martinez updates

LF Domonic Brown. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

It was a busy morning down in Clearwater for the Phillies. Roster moves and injury updates have been the hot topic this spring for the Phillies and it starts with Domonic Brown.

The left fielder was optioned to minor league camp this morning, meaning he will start the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Brown’s spring was injury-riddled again, but thankfully not as serious as last year when he fractured a bone in his hand. He jammed his thumb diving for a ball as well as suffering a sore neck while sleeping on the bus this spring.

But injuries aside, Brown enjoyed a good offensive spring in which he hit .300 (6-for-20) with two triples, a homer and two RBIs while scoring four times. He only struck out once all spring.

Many were wondering if Brown would make the Opening Day roster with the absence of an every day left-handed power bat while Chase Utley and Ryan Howard start the season off on the disabled list.

“I’m going to go down there, play hard, and that’s it,” Brown said. “I really don’t have anything else to say. I was not expecting it, but keeping it in the back of my mind.”

A huge reason why Brown wasn’t ready though was his defense. He still has a lot of work to do in left field. He made two errors in the outfield as well as misplay a few other balls, including the one he got injured on.

“We’re not in the mode right now to develop guys at the major league level,” general manager Ruben Amaro said. “He’s a guy that needs to get to the point where we are comfortable with him in all phases of the game, and then he’ll make the impact at the major league level when he is ready to do that.”

MARTINEZ OUT 6-8 WEEKS — As expected, bad news was presented to utility infielder Michael Martinez.

Martinez, who fractured the fourth metatarsal after being hit in the foot by a pitch on Tuesday, will miss 6-8 weeks, Amaro said. He won’t even be able to make it onto the field until that time has lapsed, meaning the Phillies could be without him until the middle of May.

According to Matt Gelb on Twitter, “Amaro says he’s inclined to acquire a utility infielder from elsewhere. Strongly hinted he will not dip from his starting pitching depth.”

UTLEY RETURNS — Chase Utley was back in Clearwater but his status is still unknown.

Both Amaro and Utley declined any updates, with Utley declining to talk to reporters. This could most likely mean bad news for the 32-year-old second baseman with bad knees.

[UPDATE] The Phillies say Chase Utley will address reporters Sunday. That is all. – Matt Gelb.


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