Phillies Notes: Manuel sticking with Brown in left

Phillies Notes: Manuel sticking with Brown in left
April 6, 2013, 5:30 pm
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It didn’t take Domonic Brown long to solidify the Phillies’ corner outfield spots. And when Delmon Young completes his rehab for his injured ankle and joins the Phillies, manager Charlie Manuel’s lineup should be set.

But in the meantime, Manuel is going to keep Brown in the position where he will be when Young arrives -- in left field.

Brown has started all four games this season as the Phils’ leftfielder and is in there for the fifth straight game on Saturday night, too. Even though Brown has played right field throughout his professional career and has a much stronger throwing arm than either Laynce Nix or John Mayberry, Brown has been a constant in left field.

And that’s not going to change any time soon.

“The more that he plays left field is how he’s going to get better and more comfortable,” Manuel said before Saturday’s game against the Kansas City Royals at Citizens Bank Park. “When Delmon joins our team right field is where he’s going to get his playing time.”

Brown has handled just four chances in left field this season and has not made any errors. However, Brown misplayed a would-be single into a bases-loaded triple by the Royals’ Chris Getz during the seventh inning of Friday afternoon’s 13-4 loss. Instead of playing the ball conservatively, Brown attempted to make a diving catch. When he missed it, the ball rolled all the way to the left field fence.

Meanwhile, there were two plays in which Nix had to make throws to the plate from right field on Friday that would have been closer -- or even outs -- had Brown been playing there.

Regardless, Brown will stay in left field.

“I think he’s better off staying in one place right now,” Manuel explained. “That doesn’t mean he can’t play right field, but it’s kind of where our plans are.”

No Hamels on short rest
Manuel also chose to go with fifth starter John Lannan on Saturday night instead of using Opening Day starter Cole Hamels on regular rest.

Skipping the fifth starter in the rotation during the first week of the season is something Manuel has done in past years, but for 2013, the Phils’ skipper wants to get his starters going.

“Basically, when we set up our rotation, we wanted to get the guy out there,” Manuel said. “We want to get our rotation organized. We have three off-days this month, but we want to get our rotation out there.”

Utley swinging ‘good’
The most pleasant surprise through the early going this season has been the offensive production from oft-injured second baseman, Chase Utley.

In four games, Utley is 7 for 15 (.467) with a homer, a triple and two doubles. He leads the team in runs (three), hits, RBIs (six), total bases (14) and sacrifice flies. More importantly, there has been no concern over Utley’s chronic knee issues that limited him to 186 games over the last two seasons.

Ever the superstitious one when it comes to talk about players on a hot streak, Manuel was banal when discussing Utley’s quick start.

“He’s swinging the bat good, he’s hitting the ball hard,” Manuel said. “He’s running good and he’s playing good. He’s hitting the ball all over.”

Quiet down, son
Friday’s starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick pitched 5 2/3 innings and was charged with five runs and wasn’t too pleased about coming out of the game with the bases loaded during the sixth inning.

In fact, Kendrick voiced his displeasure about coming out of the game to the press after Friday’s 13-4 loss (see game story).

When asked about Kendrick’s response to his decision to take him out of the game after 84 pitches, Manuel was brusque.

“He can say what he wants to and I’ll say to him what I want to,” the manager said, pointedly. “I’m not going to tell you what I tell him, though. Seriously, that’s how I look at it. I don’t care what he says, but if I got something to say to him I’ll be able to do that. You won’t know unless he tells you.”

In other words, Charlie is in charge.