Phillips returns to Majors with plan in mind

Crew's No. 5 prospect seeks to cut down on his strikeouts

May 2nd, 2018

CINCINNATI -- doesn't know what the future holds, but the Brewers outfielder knows what he needs to improve on in order to stick in the Major Leagues.
"Last year, I struck out a lot," Phillips said. "As long as I'm getting on base, somehow, some way. It's something I'm trying to hone in on. Putting the ball in play with two strikes, just giving the team a chance."
Phillips was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday and went 0-for-2 in Wednesday's 3-1 Brewers win over the Reds at Great American Ball Park. This is his second stint this season with the Brewers after being with them on four separate occasions last season.
Phillips struck out 129 times in 383 at-bats with the Sky Sox last season and fanned 34 times in 87 at-bats with the Brewers. Yet he batted .276 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 37 games with the Brewers and .305 in 105 games at Colorado Springs. The potential is there.

In Spring Training, Phillips competed for a spot on the Opening Day roster with , but a loaded outfield left little room for the 23-year-old. So far at Triple-A this year, Phillips has fanned 23 times with 16 walks in 66 at-bats.
He understands his time in the Majors could be brief, but the uncertainty has been the most difficult thing for the Brewers' No. 5 prospect, per MLB Pipeline.
"I don't know how long I'm going to be here," Phillips said. "I don't know the situation. It's kind of tough when you don't know what the future plans are for you. For me, it's about being where my feet are."
Phillips has appeared in four games this season for Milwaukee, going 1-for-10 at the plate. Should he be sent down again, it would be his seventh time being sent there over the past two seasons.
"When you get to the big leagues, your roster spot is not guaranteed," Brewers manager Craig Counsell. "You feel like a lifelong dream is accomplished, and when it gets taken away, it kind of shatters it. After six [times being optioned], we don't have to have the conversation."

Phillips doesn't appear to be discouraged, however.
Just as Counsell finished answering a reporter's question, Phillips surprised everyone when he emerged from underneath the dugout bench, where he'd been hiding the whole time, directly below Counsell.
"That's a great answer!" Phillips exclaimed. "I was going to ask the same question."