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Sandberg trying to keep Ruf, Brown involved

Sandberg trying to keep Ruf, Brown involved

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said he wants to find playing time for Darin Ruf, but he hasn't lost faith in struggling left fielder Domonic Brown.

Brown was back in the starting lineup Wednesday against Rockies right-hander Jordan Lyles after sitting out Tuesday's contest for what Sandberg described as a "little mental break." An All-Star last season, Brown entered Wednesday with a .567 OPS, which was the sixth lowest out of 173 qualifying Major Leaguers.

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"He's a guy that we need from the left-handed bat side to get going," Sandberg said.

Ruf, a right-handed hitter, homered Tuesday in his second start since being promoted from Triple-A one week ago. Capable in left field and at first base, Ruf is likely to see more time against left-handed pitching, as was the case Tuesday. Starting first baseman Ryan Howard is hitting .212 against lefties this year.

"I liked how Darin looked yesterday as far as hitting some balls hard and his potential," Sandberg said. "Like I said, we also could use Domonic from the left side going forward."

More than once this season, Sandberg has said players make the lineup. He repeated that Wednesday.

"I look at lineups and I go with gut feeling, I go with getting a player going and those are opportunities for that player -- those are chances for that player and a vote of confidence, that I have confidence in them to get it going," Sandberg said. "If we could have them both going red-hot, that's the ideal scenario."

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jalaymance. Erik Bacharach is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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