PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies caught a tough break on Saturday, when strep throat forced Domonic Brown out of the lineup.
Brown, who was labeled day to day with the illness but pinch-hit in the seventh inning of Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Nationals, was just starting to heat up at the plate. Over his past 10 games, the Phillies left fielder had hit .294 (10-for-34) with a homer and eight RBIs.
Brown said after Saturday night's game that he did not know if he would be able to play in Sunday's series finale.
Brown is still batting just .228 overall after singling in his at-bat Saturday, but his efficiency in the clutch has rendered him valuable out of the No. 6 hole in the order. His .338 average with runners in scoring position has translated into 46 RBIs, tying him for second among all NL outfielders.
On Friday night, Brown delivered in the clutch again, lacing a two-run double off All-Star Jordan Zimmermann.
"I just see the potential there with any swing of the bat throughout the game that he can make a difference," manager Ryne Sandberg said before Saturday night's game. "That's kind of what he did [Friday night] with one swing of the bat, driving in against a tough pitcher and two runs come in. So that's the potential that's there. When I make up a lineup, that's kind of what I envision in the course of a game, him coming through like that."
Ruiz plans to start rehab after All-Star break
PHILADELPHIA -- Carlos Ruiz is targeting Friday as the date for his first rehab game. The Phillies catcher has been on the disabled list since June 27 with a concussion.
Ruiz on Sunday will head to Class A Advanced Clearwater, where he will participate in baseball activities for four days during the All-Star break before seeing game action on Friday if he progresses as expected.
Ruiz said he felt good and that he had not felt any symptoms since last weekend.
"I don't feel anything right now," he said.
The plan is for Ruiz to gradually increase his innings workload at catcher, with some appearances as a designated hitter sprinkled in during his rehab assignment. The Phillies offered no timetable for his return, but if he begins a rehab assignment on Friday, a return to the Majors by the final week of July is within reach.
"He's been through this before, as far as coming back," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "Just talking with him earlier, he's anxious to get back with the team."
• Cliff Lee is targeting a return to the Phillies' rotation next Saturday, but that is contingent upon how he feels after his scheduled rehab start on Monday at Clearwater. Because of the uncertainty, Sandberg on Saturday had yet to map out his starting rotation following the All-Star break.
"Have an idea, but waiting to see how Cliff does on Monday," Sandberg said.
Erik Bacharach is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.