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Domonic Brown to get a 'new slate'

“It’s a big year for Domonic Brown to see if he’s one of the pieces of the puzzle going forward,” Ryne Sandberg said.

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Domonic Brown's swing, Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said, was in a rut. His production slipped last season in almost every offensive category. A year after being an all-star, Brown was one of the league's worst hitting outfielders.

This season, Sandberg said, is a new slate.

"It's a big year for Domonic Brown to see if he's one of the pieces of the puzzle going forward," the manager said in Wednesday morning's news conference. "He can help us a lot with the ability that he has. If he can get hot and put together a good, solid year, he can be a big part of the lineup."

The 27-year-old Brown is expected to move this season to right field, the position he broke in at in 2010. He played mostly in left the last two seasons to make room for Hunter Pence and Marlon Byrd. Sandberg said Brown took it upon himself to practice catching fly balls last season in both center and right field.

"I think he matured quite a bit over the last couple of years," Sandberg said. "And where he's at with his age and everything, for him to step up and do a good job in right field. I think he has the arm out there and with the potential of his bat, he can do a good job for us."

Sandberg said the Phillies have some versatility in filling their left field vacancy. Grady Sizemore and Darin Ruf spent time there last season. Odubel Herrera, a Rule 5 selection, played mostly centerfield this winter in Venezuela but Sandberg said he has a chance to play left field. The 23-year-old was the Rookie of the Year and the MVP of the Venezuelan Winter League.

"We have some options there," Sandberg said. "We have some guys to look at in the outfield.

Contact Matt Breen at and follow on Twitter at @matt_breen.