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Brown ready to play, but not in lineup for opener

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies left fielder Domonic Brown said Tuesday he felt much improved from last week's bout with strep throat.

He said he is ready to play, but he remained out of the lineup Friday against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park. In fact, Brown has not started the past nine consecutive games. He last started July 29 against the Mets at Citi Field.

"I don't want to mess with something that's going good," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said of a lineup that just swept the Astros. "He'll get another day of batting practice under his belt."

Sandberg has started Grady Sizemore in left field eight of the last nine games, including Friday. Darin Ruf started the other game. Sizemore is hitting .333 (27-for-81) with six doubles, one home run, five RBIs and an .817 OPS in 22 games since joining the Phillies last month. Meanwhile, Brown has struggled. His .615 OPS is 145th out of 151 qualifying hitters in baseball, while his .625 OPS as a left fielder is last out of 25 left fielders.

Brown's OPS as a left fielder is on pace to be the lowest for that position since Chuck Knoblauch posted a .582 OPS with Kansas City in 2002.

"I'd say he's still a player still learning things and trying to put together full seasons, back-to-back years, finding his game plan and stroke so he can be consistent throughout a whole year," Sandberg said. "That's still something he is working on."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for
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