All-Star Phillips’ mind on P.J.

ANAHEIM – Heading into his first Major League All-Star Game at Angel Stadium, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips pointed to his brother, an Angels prospect, as his inspiration.

P.J. Phillips, a second-round pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, suffered a shoulder injury during Spring Training and is on the disabled list. He is on the Class A Rancho Cucamonga roster.

“This is for my younger brother, P.J.,” said Phillips, who leads the National League in runs scored with 66 and is hitting .294 at the break as one of four Reds playing in the Midsummer Classic. “I dedicate all my success to my brother. He’s really meant a lot to me. You never know what happens.”

A middle infielder when he drafted and signed out of Redan High School in Stone Mountain, Ga., P.J. was playing center field this spring when he damaged the shoulder in a collision.

“He dove for a ball in the outfield,” Brandon said, “and the right fielder hit him and flipped him over. He broke his shoulder, the rotator cuff. It was pretty bad, but he’s a strong guy. He’ll come back.”

An All-Star in 2007 for low Class A Cedar Rapids, P.J. Phillips, a superb athlete, spent the past two seasons at advanced Class A Rancho Cucamonga in the California League. He batted .276 in ’08 but fell to .233 last season. He’s 23, 6-foot-3 and 170 pounds. — Lyle Spencer

 

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