What Philly Is Overreacting To: Domonic Brown's Spring

What Philly Is Overreacting To: Domonic Brown's Spring

Presented without explanation, our new feature: What Philly Is Overreacting To.

The graphic says it all. Domonic Brown sucks.

0 for 12? I had a streak like that—in little leauge, once. Well... 0 for 12 was probably normal actually. I think I was scared of the ball then. Dom Brown must be scared of the ball, too.

That's it! He's scared of the ball. It makes so much sense. How else do you explain the 21 consecutive recorded at bats dating all the way back to September 28 since Brown has registered a base hit in a Major League Baseball gamebook? Amazing he could make it to the show with such a glaring hole in his game.

Or, it's spring training, and the young man is working on his swing. What statistics can you recite, let alone find, from prior seasons' exhibition games? Any? C'mon, that time you were in Clearwater and Ryan Howard went 3 for 4 with a couple of moonshots is pretty remote, and doesn't count.

Look, these are the only relevant numbers so far.

73 plate appearances. Between regular season and playoffs, Brown has officially stepped in the batter's box a total of 73 times. Now I don't watch as much SportsCenter as I used to, but I can't remember the last time they posted a graphic detailing the best players in history through their first 73 at bats.

To put 73 plate appearances in perspective, it ranked 17th on the Phillies in 2010, even behind pitchers Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels. Jayson Werth stood at the dish nearly 10 times that amount last season alone. Oh yeah, and Mr. Rock Star didn't hit his first career dinger until plate appearance number 70; Brown's already got two. Smoked.

Fourth on Baseball America's prospect list. This isn't just any kid Phillies fans are pinning their hopes and dreams on. Brown is legitimately one of the top young players in baseball. Just ask these people.

Obviously, Dom is on there for a reason. Maybe it's because he has excelled and then some at every level in the minor leagues, culminating with his participation in last year's All-Star Futures game. Maybe it's because he's a five-tool outfielder with so much raw athletic ability, he honestly could have played wide receiver for the Miami Hurricanes.

Regardless, Brown worked his way up that list. It's not a draft board, nor an entirely inconsequential rating. People in the know believe he's gonna be good.

Ben Francisco. That's not a number, you say? It's not always about Domonic Brown, ya know.

Because while Dom hacks away and learns the tools of the trade, Francisco is having the best spring of any Phillies hitter so far. If these games have anything to do with who will be in right field come April 1, there is no debate his .308 batting average and club-high five RBI's make Benny Fresh the early leader.

Ben Francisco can start in right field on Opening Day, and that's okay. It would arguably say more about the way he's getting it done at the plate.

Domonic Brown will play a major role on the Phillies in 2011 though, and likely beyond. He has outrageous physical talent, but he's only 23-years-old. Obviously he has a few things to work on, but there is plenty of baseball ahead. Talk to me when the struggles last into the summer.

Howie Kendrick (oblique) finally ready to begin rehab assignment tonight

Howie Kendrick (oblique) finally ready to begin rehab assignment tonight

Phillies corner outfielder/infielder Howie Kendrick is finally nearing a return. He'll begin a rehab assignment tonight with Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Kendrick has been out since April 15 with an oblique strain. He did defensive work during the Phillies' road trip and has been taking outdoor batting practice at home this week.

Kendrick was off to a hot start when the oblique injury sent him to the DL. In 10 games, he went 13 for 39 (.333) with four doubles, a triple and five RBIs. He batted second all 10 games.

The Phillies are in a bad offensive funk and could use Kendrick's bat over Michael Saunders' right now. The Phils' 1-2 hitters were among the most productive in the majors in April, hitting close to .350 for the month. They're down to .282 on the season as Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera have slumped in May.

With Clay Buchholz likely out for the season and Saunders providing little offense so far, the Phillies' trio of offseason veteran additions has not panned out through two months.

Supplement-free Lane Johnson heaviest he's ever been, feels he has much to prove

Supplement-free Lane Johnson heaviest he's ever been, feels he has much to prove

It's only natural to have some reservations about Lane Johnson after he was suspended for 10 games last season for his second violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. One more positive test and the Eagles will lose their starting right tackle for two full years.

Fortunately, Johnson seems determined to avoid any future run-ins with the league. The 27-year-old changed his entire approach this offseason, cutting out negative influences or any other voices at all while preparing for the 2017 season.

"I just trained by myself back in Oklahoma," Johnson said after the Eagles' first full-team practice of OTAs on Tuesday. "Trained by myself and everything went good. I came back, my body weight is about 325, so I'm heavier than I've ever been. I feel in good shape, and I have a lot to prove, so it's a big year for me.

"I did everything by myself. There wasn't going to be any mishaps."

Two suspensions totaling 14 games later, Johnson has gained a healthy fear of being unknowingly steered toward an illegal supplement.

Johnson tested positive for PEDs before the season last year after taking a banned substance known as peptides and was eventually slapped with the full 10-game penalty after a lengthy appeal process. The fifth-year veteran always maintained peptides were not listed on the label of the offending supplement.

Johnson filed a lawsuit against the NFL and the players' association in November after the suspension was upheld. Its status is ongoing.

Johnson also served a four-game suspension in 2014.

When he's not in trouble with the league office, Johnson is a vital cog in the Eagles' offense. They went 5-1 with him and 2-8 without him last season.

"I feel like whenever I'm playing, I try to be the best right tackle in the NFL," Johnson said. "My deal is to just stay on the field, play a complete season, and I think it will be a big year for me."

Johnson isn't concerned about losing a competitive edge, physically or mentally, after dropping supplements altogether.

"I've always been the athlete that I am," Johnson said. "That's what I'll continue to prove. I'm gonna go play and show people what I can do."

Signed in January 2016 to a five-year contract extension worth $56 million, Johnson has plenty to prove. He was working out in place of 35-year-old left tackle Jason Peters, who wasn't at the start of OTAs, on Tuesday and is expected to one day replace the nine-time Pro Bowl selection permanently.

Despite his checkered past, it sounds like Johnson knows exactly what's on the line, which is why he chose to go it alone this offseason. The only person you can trust is yourself.

Then again, Johnson still has his vices, which might raise some eyebrows with the news he's up to 325 pounds — eight more than his listed weight.

"My big deal is cutting out the ice cream, the Ben & Jerry's late at night — the stuff you want to indulge in," Johnson said. "If you get me on an ice cream binge, it's not good."

The Eagles can probably deal with a little extra ice cream, just as long as Johnson remains committed to keeping dodgy supplements out of his body.