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Brown returns to lineup with right Achilles better

WASHINGTON -- Domonic Brown was in the Phillies' starting lineup for the first time since Aug. 30 on Sunday afternoon for his club's 11-2 loss against the Nationals.

Brown, who went 1-for-4 with a double while playing left field, feels that his right Achilles is back to 100 percent, but he also isn't about to take any risks with his health over the last two weeks of the season. He compared his situation to that of first baseman Ryan Howard, who had a difficult recovery from a torn Achilles that occurred in the 2011 postseason.

"If [the injury] comes back, then I'm getting right out of the lineup," Brown said before Sunday's game. "It's that simple, really. It's really nothing to play around with. Being around Ryan Howard, seeing how that happened, I'm not trying to go through that. ... I'm definitely going to be smart with it. If I'm feeling something, I'm going to let the training staff know right away."

Brown has enjoyed a breakout season, sitting fourth in the National League with 27 home runs. But he's missed significant time in the second half, as a result of both the Achilles problem and an earlier concussion.

"That's part of the game. I don't really look at it any different way," Brown said. "Stay positive, stay focused and work my butt off to get back on the field as soon as possible."

In recent days, Brown had taken batting practice and gone through full pregame workouts. He appeared as a pinch-hitter on Friday and entered Saturday's game as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning, playing left field and later getting an at-bat.

He ripped a double to left-center field in his first at-bat on Sunday, later running hard to score from third on a sacrifice fly. He struck out in his final three at-bats but came through the game feeling strong.

Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg didn't commit to starting Brown again on Monday against the Marlins, but he's happy to have the slugger back in the fold coming down the stretch.

"A chance to hit 30 home runs -- that's something," Sandberg said. "A lot of times when you do something like that, it becomes a benchmark of what you can do and what you expect to do in the future. So that'd be big for him, along with whatever his RBIs could end up to being."

Andrew Simon is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @HitTheCutoff.
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