News, notes and observations from the minors

At just about the half-way point through the season, it's a good time to check around the minors for things you may have missed and might be interested in knowing about.

First of all, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs...

Domonic Brown is out of the lineup and has been since June 14. He "tweaked" his knee taking a swing on that date and an MRI revealed a strained ligament. The plan was to let the swelling go down and then go from there.

It's coming up on two weeks later and Brown wasn't even taking batting practice prior to the opening of a 12-game homestand for the IronPigs on Tuesday.

The injury is the latest in a number of injuries for Brown and the amount of time that he's missing due to injuries is starting to become a concern. It's been a long time since Brown has been healthy for any long stretch of time and playing well during that time.

Earlier this season, a veteran NL scout told me that he thought the Phillies had missed Brown's high point if they wanted to trade him. At the time, I was thinking that he was wrong, but the latest injury has me wondering.

After 76 games, the IronPigs have the same record (43-33) that they did last season when they played for the International League Governor's Cup. The difference is that last season they were two games ahead in the division and this year, they're one game back.

In Reading - a.k.a. BaseballTown - they're getting ready for the 2012 Eastern League All-Star Game which will be played there on July 11, with the Home Run Derby being held the day before. Reading hasn't hosted an all-star game since 1974; apparently, last year's renovation of the stadium convinced the Eastern League to come to BaseballTown.

Reading is picking up a bunch of player awards this season. Lisalberto Bonilla was named the Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Week for the week ending June 17 and Jonathan Pettibone picked up Eastern League Pitcher of the Week honors for the week ending June 24.

R-Phils players have collected seven organizational awards, six EL weekly awards, two organizational monthly awards and one EL monthly award.

The Clearwater Threshers will be playing water polo for a while after their stadium was completely flooded. At its highest level, water was just below the top of the dugouts.

For now, it's not a huge scheduling problem for the Threshers since they're on the east coast of Florida for a road trip. The GCL Phillies though are holed up in their hotel and there's no word on when their schedule will resume.

Harold Martinez was splitting his time between first base and third base while he was with Lakewood, but has taken over at third with the Threshers. The position came open when Cody Asche was moved up the ladder to Double-A Reading.

The Lakewood BlueClaws may be hosting Ryan Howard for a rehab assignment starting Thursday. Howard will be back in Philly on Wednesday for physical and "functional" testing and if all goes well, he'll take off for Lakewood and be in the lineup Thursday night.

Chris Duffy has an 11-game hitting streak, the longest by a BlueClaws player this season. He's hitting .475 (19-for-20) during the streak. In addition, he's reached base safely in all 28 games he's played with the BlueClaws.

It would be nice to see Duffy get another shot at Clearwater this season. He started the year there, but hit just .205 in 20 games before being dropped down to Lakewood.

Andy Tracy is enjoying his debut season as a manager with the Williamsport Crosscutters. Tracy, who played three seasons at Lehigh Valley, has his team off to a 5-3 start, just one game out in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division.

Mitch Walding already has 12 hits and 11 RBI through the first eight games, hitting .375 on the season. The Phillies drafted Walding in the fifth round of the 2011 Draft out of St. Mary's High School in California and it will be interesting to see if the Phillies give him a shot at Lakewood before the end of the season.

On the mound, Josh Warner, a product of the Phillies scouting efforts in Australia, has a 1.38 ERA in two starts with Williamsport this season. Earlier in the year, Warner struggled through two starts with Lakewood, posting a 5.19 ERA.



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