PHILADELPHIA -- Domonic Brown saw the writing on the wall late Friday when the Phillies traded for Houston's Hunter Pence.
He hoped to stay in the Major Leagues, but even he knew he had to keep learning, and everyday playing time would not be happening in Philadelphia.
"Last night, he was taking it pretty hard," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I walked out with him. His position is better than he thinks it is."
Brown was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Saturday and is now the IronPigs' starting left fielder. With Hunter Pence set to man right field through 2013, Brown's best path to returning to Philadelphia and staying there is in left, currently occupied by Raul Ibanez until he becomes a free agent at the end of this season.
"He didn't have any problem with it when I talked to him about it this afternoon," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said, adding that Brown was not the only option to send down.
Brown will be back in September when rosters expand. Then, he'll platoon in the outfield and bring a valuable plate approach off the bench that can be serviceable down the stretch. In 54 games, Brown posted a .335 OBP and .728 OPS, including 25 walks.
Manuel has sent high-ceiling prospects down before to allow them to work through their struggles, among them Ryan Howard with the Phillies and Jim Thome when he was the manager of the Indians.
"The next time [Brown] comes up here we want him to be ready to go and stick," Manuel said.