Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Brown's best and worst on display

KISSIMMEE — Domonic Brown showed again why the Phillies remain high on him, and why they remain frustrated.

Brown, 24, the former Pasco High standout who had a disappointing rookie season, hit a long homer to rightfield with one out in the 10th inning to give Philadelphia 4-3 lead over the Astros. He's 5-for-16 with two triples and a homer this spring and has yet to strike out.

"When he hits the ball on the nose, he moves it," manager Charlie Manuel said.

Defense was another matter. Brown, who moved to left from right last year, missed a cutoff man in the seventh, setting up a run. In the eighth, Brown broke in on Carlos Lee's line drive, and the ball sailed over his head for a double.

"I don't even like to talk a lot about his defense," Manuel said. "I like to put him out there, let him play and see if he can improve. I'm sure he thinks enough about it and he wants to do good."

Brown, certainly, hasn't given up hope.

"I'm just working to get better," he said. "I'm out there working day in and day out, getting those reads off the bat. It's a different angle. The more I play out there, the more comfortable I'm going to get."

WORKING ON CHANGE: Phillies LHP Cole Hamels pitched five innings in his third spring start and was satisfied with his changeup, which he used in every inning.

Jays: Positive sign

FORT MYERS — The Blue Jays got an encouraging three innings from LHP Brett Cecil, who slumped to 4-11 with a 4.73 ERA last year after going 15-7, 4.22 in 2010. Cecil pitched three scoreless, one-hit innings in an 8-2 win over the Twins.

"That's the best I've felt in spring training," Cecil said. "Got out of my delivery once, kind of slipped, but other than that, it was a pretty good day."

Cecil attributed his slump last season to a poor work ethic, something he has worked hard to correct this spring.

"I kind of took it for granted subconsciously, I think, not doing the extra stuff I should have been doing," Cecil said. "That's basically it, and I got kicked in the butt for it. "

Yanks: Reserve ailing

TAMPA — Yankees INF Eduardo Nunez felt discomfort in his right hand once again after taking batting practice and was scratched from Tuesday's game against the Red Sox.

Nunez hasn't played since he suffered a right hand contusion after being hit by an Austin Hyatt pitch on March 5 against the Phillies. Nunez was in manager Joe Girardi's original lineup but was replaced at shortstop by Doug Bernier.

"We just said, 'No, you're still sore, let's back off a little bit,' " Girardi said. "Because of where (the bruise is) at, you expect it to be somewhat sore. You expect it to go away, but sometimes things just take time."

NOVA SHARP: RHP Ivan Nova bounced back from a rough outing against the Blue Jays with four shutout innings. Nova allowed two hits, walked none and struck out three.

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