Was Victorino's Injury a Stroke of Good Luck?
(Source: The Sporting News)
I usually don't like to see any player get hurt unless they are wearing a Dallas Cowboys jersey, but Shane Victorino's trip to the 15-day DL could prove to be the most well-timed break the Phils have caught all season.
It seemed apparent that Ruben Amaro preferred to hold off on calling up Domonic Brown until September, when rosters would expand, or until after if/when he had traded either Victorino or Jayson Werth this week. I was on the fence about bringing up Brown in 2010 because of the team's already over-lefthandedness. I thought their best chance to get to the playoffs (and beyond) was to just sit tight and hope that at least 2/3 of their OF's started hitting again. And in the last few weeks Raul Ibanez and Werth have both picked up the pace. Trading Victorino or Werth to open up a spot for Brown didn't make much sense to me. Without those two players delivering some clutch hits the last two Octobers, it's unlikely the Phils would have reached back-to-back World Series.
Well, Victorino's injury got Brown to the big leagues- without being a result of a trade. So now we get a sneak preview of Brown for the next 2+ weeks while Victorino heals. And Wheels pointed out ad nauseum last night that you can tell Brown loves to play the game, so what more can you ask for?!
After Victorino returns, the Phils will probably be using a 4-man rotation of sorts in the three outfield spots, with Brown probably playing 3 or 4 games a week. That's assuming they can bear to part with either Greg Dobbs or Cody Ransom to clear a roster spot for Brown. If he and other outfielders hit well, the Phils could be in the fortunate situation of making tough decisions about who to sit out every night.
You may recall in 1980, younger position players like Lonnie Smith and Keith Moreland played a pivotal role down the stretch, adding youth and friendly competition to a veteran team, helping them finally win a championship. The 2007 team had a similar situation, when Victorino (then in RF) got hurt and that opened the door for Werth to play almost every day for about 3-4 weeks. He got hot and they rolled into the playoffs with an OF of Burrell in LF, Rowand in CF, and Victorino and Werth sharing the RF. Werth, then a bench player, gave them a jolt that season and hopefully Brown can provide the same spark for the rest of this season.