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Opportunity there for Pasco's Brown

CLEARWATER — For all the hype about their pitching, the Phillies have a big hole to fill that another ace can't plug.

Jayson Werth's departure — he received a $126 million, seven-year contract from the Nationals — left Philadelphia without a rightfielder and someone to bat fifth behind Ryan Howard.

Rookie Domonic Brown, the former Pasco High standout, is considered the eventual answer, but he's not a lock to open the season in the majors. He will get plenty of at-bats this spring to show what he can do. So will Ben Francisco. The two could end up platooning.

"I set big goals and high expectations for myself," Brown said Tuesday. "We'll see what happens. I'm going to take it if I start or if I start at Triple A."

Brown hit .327 with 20 homers and 68 RBIs in 93 games between Double A and Triple A last season. He hit .210 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 62 at-bats with the Phillies, mostly off the bench.

He cut short his season in the Dominican winter league after nine games. He was 2-for-29 and getting little playing time, so he came to Clearwater to work on his swing.

"He's been down here longer than anybody, really," hitting coach Greg Gross said. "He should do fine."

Yanks: End near?

TAMPA — Jorge Posada is not sure whether he will play after this season.

Posada, 39, who is entering the final season of a $52.4 million, four-year contract, is being shifted to DH but also could see limited action at catcher. He said Tuesday he'll assess his physical condition before deciding whether to come back in 2012.

If he returns, he'd like to stay with the Yankees.

"It would be really tough to look somewhere else," Posada said. "If I want to play, I want to stay here."

Posada is coming off surgery in November for a small tear in his left knee. He will not start catching bullpen sessions for another week.

"I'm coming in with a positive mind," Posada said. "They want me to DH, so I'll DH."

PETTITTE SPECULATION: Posada said it wouldn't surprise him if LHP Andy Pettitte, who announced his retirement during the offseason, returned this season. Pettitte said he will not play this year and was unlikely to play again. "Andy is a competitor," Posada said. "That's one thing you miss."

Jays: Welcome news

DUNEDIN — A report that the Blue Jays were working on a long-term deal with 3B Jose Bautista was greeted enthusiastically by his teammates.

"Always rooting for the player, so if he gets a multiple-year that would be awesome — not just for him but for us, too," 2B Aaron Hill told the Globe and Mail of Toronto. "We saw what he was like in the clubhouse (last year). He had an unbelievable year and it would be good to go forward with him."

Bautista, 30, and the team postponed an arbitration hearing so they could try to hammer out a new contract.

.fast facts

Blue Jays

Full-squad workout:

Saturday

Start time: 9:30 a.m.

Site: Englebert Complex, 1700 Solon Ave., Dunedin. (Team will dress at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium and bus over.)

Phillies

Full-squad workout:

Saturday

Start time: 10 a.m.

Site: Carpenter Complex and Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater

Yankees

Full-squad workout: Sunday

Start time: 9-9:30 a.m.

Site: George Steinbrenner Field, 1 Steinbrenner Drive (across from Raymond James Stadium), Tampa

Opportunity there for Pasco's Brown 02/15/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 6:47pm]
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