By Sam Bush
The Phillies’ enigmatic outfielder Domonic Brown may be done for the season.
There will be no disabled list stint for Brown, but the concussion he suffered during Wednesday’s game could be enough to sideline him for longer than seven days — and perhaps even for much of September.
Brown, who took a hard fall while flipping over the short right-field wall at Citi Field, was diagnosed with a concussion after returning to Philly on Thursday with symptoms. The Phillies will not place him on the seven-day DL with roster expansion in effect, but he needs to clear Major League Baseball’s concussion protocol before he can return.
“It could conceivably happen before [next weekend],” assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said Friday. “but again, I think that’s not likely.”
The 28-year-old Brown has hit .228 with five home runs in 63 games. Once a heralded prospect in the Phillies’ system, his future with the team is uncertain, especially considering he will again be arbitration-eligible this offseason.
With just one month remaining, the odds of him taking the field again this season appear slim.
“It’s going to be difficult for him to get back into action,” Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. “We’ll just have to wait and see how mild or severe it is, or whatever his status is. The fact is that we’ve got other guys to see as well.”
The players Mackanin references include outfielders Aaron Altherr and Darnell Sweeney, both of whom started Friday’s series opener against the Red Sox. Brown’s absence should create more opportunities for Altherr and Sweeney now that Cody Asche is expected to see more time at third base, and the team would like to see the pair play more alongside center fielder Odubel Herrera.
Jeff Francoeur will also work his way into the mix, but Mackanin felt more than comfortable with the veteran’s body of work in 2015. Francoeur has hit .271 with 12 home runs and a .465 slugging percentage.
“He’s done a fabulous job in his role,” Mackanin said. “He doesn’t need to prove anything to us or baseball. He’s still a very good outfielder, and can contribute very well offensively. Those are check-marks that we don’t have to worry about.”