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Phillies Notebook: Brown has sights set on more HRs

Domonic Brown is still in the home run race, though he has been sidelined with an Achilles' injury.

Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)Read more

EVEN THOUGH he hasn't started a game since Aug. 30, Domonic Brown is just five home runs behind National League leader Pedro Alvarez of Pittsburgh. Brown has 27 home runs, Alvarez has 32.

"I know," Brown said of his place in the race for the NL home run crown.

Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt (31 home runs) and Cincinnati's Jay Bruce (29) are also ahead of Brown.

"Why are you looking at me like that?" Brown joked with a reporter yesterday afternoon. "Do you think I'm crazy? I mean I know I'm crazy but you never know . . . I've done it before."

Brown, of course, went to the All-Star Game this year in part because of the tear he went on in late May and early June, when he hit 11 home runs in a 15-game stretch. So, he could do that again.

But Brown has to get back on the field first and there are only 13 game remaining in the season after this weekend.

Brown, who has been suffering from right Achilles' soreness, resumed baseball activities on Tuesday and hit with his teammates in pregame batting practice for the first time in over a week yesterday.

His return is still unknown; manager Ryne Sandberg said it would be "premature" to expect Brown back this weekend in Washington.

But Brown would like to get back as soon as possible to at least make a run at 30 home runs.

"That was definitely a goal of mine coming into the season," Brown said. "I'm just trying to finish the season playing, and being healthy. If I'm feeling it and it's bothering me [then I won't play], but I feel good right now."

Brown said running on the foot has been fine. He spoke to reporters yesterday before the next important test, taking full swings in regular pregame BP.

"That's a goal of mine to get [back] out there if I'm feeling 100 percent," Brown said. "If I'm feeling it, then I'd chill out and relax some more. [An Achilles' injury] happened to Ryan [Howard], and I'm not trying to miss a full year. I'm definitely going to be smart about it, but I definitely want to get back out there . . .

"I don't want to look like I gave up on anybody. I know guys don't look at me that way, but that's how I look at it. If I'm able to play, then I'm going to play. If I'm hurting, then I'm hurting. But if I feel like I can play, I want to play."

Brown said he planned on taking regular batting practice when the Phillies arrive in Washington today, too. Sandberg, meanwhile, said the team would continue to move forward cautiously.

Brown could return in a pinch-hitting role before he's cleared to start a game, but Sandberg doesn't expect that to begin this weekend either.

Rollins in good spot

An ongoing story line for what seems like an eternity in Philadelphia is whether Jimmy Rollins is best suited to hit in the leadoff spot atop the Phillies lineup.

Charlie Manuel began the season with Rollins hitting second, behind Ben Revere, but injuries throughout the lineup forced the longtime leadoff hitter to hit in each of the first three spots in the order: He's started at least 34 games hitting first, second and third this season. Although the majority of Rollins' starts have come in the leadoff spot this season (63 of 135 games), he was penciled into the second spot for the 15th straight game last night.

Sandberg, who hit second for the majority of his career, think it's a spot that suits Rollins well.

"I've talked to him about batting second and the responsibilities that come with that, the advantages for a guy like him," Sandberg said. "He likes to hit the fastball. You have a guy that's getting on base a lot and now he's a basestealer and the pitcher has to throw some fastballs. Being a lefthanded hitter against righthanded pitching, the hole is open for him to use. If a guy steals a base, then the ability to move the guy over with his stroke comes into play.

"I batted second my whole career and I was an RBI guy and runs scored and stolen bases and all that. If you look at it as a positive, it's not a position that you sacrifice yourself. But it is a position that you take advantage of the situations and a lot of it is game-situation [stuff]. It gives you an approach and a plan for your at-bat, which I liked. I think that's something that will go a long way with Jimmy, him going up there with a plan and a job to do for himself and for the team. I think that goes a long way with production."

Bockman honored

Late, longtime Phillies scout Eddie Bockman was named as the 2013 recipient of the Dallas Green Award.

Bockman, who passed away in 2011, worked as a Phillies scout from 1960 to 1991. Larry Bowa, Bob Boone, John Vukovich, Bob Walk and Ricky Jordan were among the 28 players Bockman signed who made it to the big leagues.

"Eddie was the only scout that gave me an opportunity," Bowa said. "He overlooked my temper and told me to be myself and use all the negatives like being too small to play in the major leagues to my advantage. He stayed in touch with me during my entire career and I owe him a lot for taking a chance on a skinny kid from Sacramento."

The Dallas Green Award is given annually to an amateur or professional scout who best exemplifies the Phillies' standard for scouting while demonstrating the same loyalty, work ethic, dedication and passion as the award's namesake.

"Eddie was one of the best scouts we have ever had in our organization," Green said. "He was an old-timer and a great evaluator of talent that knew the game inside and out. He fought very hard for his guys and his area."

Tonight's matchup

The Phillies begin a three-game series at National Park against Steven Strasburg (7-9, 2.96) and the Washington Nationals. Kyle Kendrick (10-12, 4.51) starts for the Phillies. Kendrick has a 6.45 ERA in his last 10 starts.