The maturation of Freddy Galvis began long before he pushed a car with two people inside down the warning track of a field in Clearwater, Fla. That was in the winter, when the Phillies instructed their 21-year-old shortstop prospect to devote more time to building muscle and strength.
Galvis' season ended Sunday with a ceremony honoring him as the team's Paul Owens Award winner for best position player in the Phillies' minor-league system. He came to Citizens Bank Park, watched the major leaguers take batting practice, and exchanged high fives and handshakes with players and coaches who seemed totally out of reach one year ago.
For a minor-league system gutted by trades, Galvis' offensive development in 2011 ranks as one of the more intriguing stories. The franchise still can boast prospects such as Galvis and righthander Trevor May, who also was honored.
And given that Jimmy Rollins will be a free agent at season's end, Galvis' progress has raised more than a few eyebrows in the Phillies' front office.
"We've talked a lot about Freddy over the last several months," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "I'm pretty comfortable with how he's developed. Now, is he ready to be the shortstop for a team that's expected to be contending for a World Series? We don't know that yet."
Amaro, of course, will trumpet Galvis when possible. The team's preference would be to keep Rollins, but leverage in a possible bidding war is always welcomed.
Galvis batted .278 in 543 minor-league at-bats between Reading and Lehigh Valley and raised his OPS by 130 points from a season ago.
He did not play winter ball last year. He instead hired a personal trainer in his native Venezuela. He trained for two months there before beginning a program under Shawn Fcasni, the Phillies' minor-league conditioning coordinator. That's when the car program started.
"In the beginning," Galvis said, "I was like, "Wow. I have to push it? For real?' "
Then he felt stronger, weighed 30 pounds more than when he signed as a 16-year-old, and began hitting more line drives. All of a sudden, it made sense. Still, Galvis had seen enough of that car after two months.
"I didn't keep it," he said.
The Phillies intend to send Domonic Brown to the instructional league upon the conclusion of the regular season, a team source said Monday.
Brown was recalled Friday from triple-A Lehigh Valley, and still could qualify for the Phillies' postseason roster. But the team is more concerned with Brown's learning left field and beginning 2012 with a clean slate. That will be his focus for two weeks during the instructional league in Clearwater, Fla.
When that ends Oct. 15, Brown's season will be over. He will not play winter ball.
Brown spent extra time early Monday afternoon in left field with third-base coach and outfield instructor Juan Samuel. He then sat and spoke with Amaro in Section 114 as the rest of the team prepared to stretch.
Amaro said he has spoken with Brown numerous times this season.
"He understands how important he is to our organization," Amaro said.
Ryan Howard received a cortisone injection in his left-ankle bursa sac to quell inflammation. Amaro said he expects Howard to rest for a few days.
"We'll have him stay off his puppies for a while," the GM said.
Howard also injured a toe on his right foot from overcompensating for the injury on his left side, Amaro said. The team does not anticipate the injuries to be long-term issues.
It's likely the Phillies will move Vance Worley to the bullpen after his start Wednesday to prepare him for that role in the postseason.