8/8/2014 8:37 P.M. ET
Brown ready to play, but not in lineup for opener
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
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."
Back in Philly, Doc planning to go back to school
PHILADELPHIA -- Roy Halladay oozed intensity for 16 seasons as one of the best pitchers in baseball, but he left behind the competitor's life in December with his retirement.
These days, he flies planes. He fishes. He coaches his sons in baseball. He even tweets. But he also is looking into colleges so he can get a psychology degree. Halladay is thinking about the future, which has him helping players in the game he still loves.
Halladay returned to Citizens Bank Park on Friday as part of the Phillies' Alumni Weekend, which included a Halladay bobble figurine giveaway. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch to longtime batterymate Carlos Ruiz.
"It's different when you go from one lifestyle to another and trying to find out how you fit in, how you're going to do things," Halladay said. "The first two weeks at home, I asked my wife every day, 'What are you doing today and what do you need me to do?' After two weeks she said, 'Would you stop asking? Just plan your day and if I need something, I'll ask you.' But it takes a while to get into that. So there's been a lot of adjustments, but I've loved every second of it. I've had a blast. I'm looking forward to continuing."
He spent some time with the Phillies during Spring Training as a guest instructor. He loved it.
"I realized how much I actually loved just talking to guys and talking about the mental side, talking about mechanics," Halladay said. "Teaching, really. Teaching and just sharing what I've learned that's been given to me for free. So, I've been doing that here and there. I plan on going to school working on a psychology degree and go from there. But it's interesting to me. It's been fun to see the other side of it, talk to guys who are going through the same things I have."
Halladay said he sees himself following in the footsteps of the late Harvey Dorfman, who helped save Halladay's career by helping him with the mental aspect of his high-pressure job.
"I don't know if it's my calling, but, I think that it's unique," Halladay said. "I had a chance to go through almost everything. From growing up, at times being pushed, struggling, not just a little bit, but a lot. And then starting to understand what's going on, starting to understand what Harvey's talking about, and really just trying to morph myself into what I was hearing … and I became that. I feel like I became that. You know, I could pretty well regurgitate anything Harvey ever said.
"But there are special circumstances, which is why I'd like to go to college. I just think that's something that I can offer back to baseball. And working with players, at all levels. Going home and just seeing what a mess youth baseball was, was an eye-opener. I just want to make it a better game. And it's been a lot of fun doing that already."
Halladay has spoken recently with Jesse Biddle, the team's first-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. The Phillies placed Biddle on the inactive list this season because they said he needed a "mental break."
Biddle just recently returned to pitching.
"I've talked to Jesse a little bit," Halladay said. "He's a good kid. It's just exactly like me -- exactly like me -- you really talk about simplifying things. That's where they don't really get what that means. They think if they simplify and, 'If I take away my slider and changeup' -- no. We're talking about thinking about one pitch, and having that calm intense focus to do one thing and think about one thing only.
"And that's what we've been talking a lot about. I think he's starting to get there. But it's not something where you can read the book and do it, someone can't tell you and do it, you really have to live it. It has to be something you have to try and live. He's doing better. I think he's feeling better. But I think the hardest thing for people to realize is what they can and can't control."
Halladay learned to control those things early in his career. It made him one of the game's greatest pitchers, which included a perfect game, a Cy Young Award and a postseason no-hitter with the Phillies. He hopes to help others succeed like that in the future.
• The Phillies named Maikel Franco and Brandon Liebrandt their Minor League player and pitcher of the month, respectively. Franco, 21, hit .343 with four home runs, 23 RBIs and a .967 OPS in July with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Liebrandt went 2-1 with a 1.42 ERA in six games between the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Phillies and Class A Williamsport. He struck out 36 while walking only six in 31 2/3 innings.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.