ST. LOUIS -- Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. had lengthy closed-door meetings separately Wednesday with manager Charlie Manuel and his coaching staff.
Not unusual, he said.
That is true. He regularly meets with Manuel and his coaching staff after games, but this one seemed to be a bit different considering the circumstances. The Phillies had lost four consecutive games leading into Wednesday's Trade Deadline. Amaro has maintained the Phillies will try to buy, but a poor week could have changed their thinking.
"We have to keep an open mind where we're going to go," he said before Thursday's game against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. "We'd like to add to this club and improve it. We've had a lot of rough injuries. A lot of it will depend when Dom [Brown] can come back. We'll have to assess it as the Deadline gets closer. We always have to look to improve the club. That's always the focus. How aggressively we do that, we'll have to see as we get closer to the 31st."
He denied a report that they were close to acquiring Orioles outfielder Chris Dickerson in a trade.
In fact, he said the Phillies were not close to acquiring anybody.
Phillies place Brown on seven-day concussion DL
ST. LOUIS -- Domonic Brown sounded pretty optimistic he would be back in the Phillies' lineup Friday in Detroit.
But he will not be back until next Wednesday at the earliest.
The Phillies placed Brown on the seven-day concussion disabled list Thursday, which is retroactive to Wednesday. Brown suffered the concussion diving for Carlos Beltran's triple in the seventh inning in Tuesday's 4-1 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. The Phillies selected the contract of Triple-A Lehigh Valley outfielder Steven Susdorf to take his place on the 25-man roster. They also transferred left-hander Jeremy Horst to the 60-day DL to make room for Susdorf.
"I think they're just kind of being cautious about everything," Brown said. "A concussion is definitely nothing to play around with. I'm still kind of sensitive to the lighting. That's really about it. I haven't had any headaches or anything like that."
Losing Brown could not come at a worse time, with five games remaining before Wednesday's 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline. Brown, who made his first National League All-Star team, is hitting .271 with 24 home runs and 69 RBIs this season.
Susdorf, whom the Phillies selected in the 19th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, was hitting .335 with 13 doubles, one triple, one home run, 25 RBIs and an .847 OPS in 70 games this season for Lehigh Valley. He has hit a combined .304 with an .802 OPS in six Minor League seasons with the Phillies.
It doesn't get any easier for Philadelphia.
"I wouldn't have it [any] other way, son," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Is he sure about that?
"Yeah, I'm sure about it," Manuel said. "What the hell? You get slapped, then [gosh darn] you've got to slap back. That's all. That's how I look at it."
Amaro indicates Utley likely to remain in Philly
ST. LOUIS -- Ruben Amaro Jr. barely broke stride at Busch Stadium on Thursday afternoon, when a reporter asked if he had a moment to talk.
"I can't," he said. "I'm busy today."
He spoke later, but the Phillies' general manager is probably busy with plenty of things, considering the Trade Deadline is Wednesday and the Phillies entered Thursday's series finale against the Cardinals with a four-game losing streak. But CSNPhilly.com also reported Amaro has been talking with Chase Utley about a contract extension, which seems more likely to happen than not at this point.
"Come on, you know me," said Utley, when asked about any negotiations.
"We don't talk about those things," Amaro echoed later.
But asked if he expects Utley to be in a Phillies uniform beyond Wednesday's Trade Deadline, Amaro said, "Oh, I think so."
Utley spoke with MLB.com about his future with the Phillies just before the All-Star break. He said then he would be open to negotiations during the season.
"I think we have a good relationship," he said. "We understand each other. Whatever is best is best, if that makes sense."
He also expressed his desire to remain in Philadelphia.
"I've never envisioned wearing another team's uniform," he said. "And I know there's a lot of speculation, but I still haven't ... that still hasn't changed over the last month. I've talked to Ruben. I've told him what I think about the organization and city of Philly. That's kind of where we're at. ... Obviously winning is an important part of what I want to do with my future. But I think there definitely are some pieces in this room that can win."
Utley entered Thursday's game hitting .286 with 16 doubles, four triples, 13 home runs, 36 RBIs, a .520 slugging percentage and .866 OPS. He has not had a higher slugging percentage since 2008 (.535). He has not had a higher OPS since 2009 (.905). He also is considered a team leader in the clubhouse, a presence this clubhouse cannot afford to lose.
And while Utley has battled chronically injured knees in recent seasons, they have not been an issue this year. Utley said a couple weeks ago he thinks he has those problems under control, pointing to his offensive production as proof.
There are plenty of reasons to believe an extension will happen, and possibly soon. The Phillies could be sellers before the Trade Deadline but announce an extension for Utley to show the fan base there will not be an extended rebuilding process and that they will try to win as early as 2014. They did something similar last July with left-hander Cole Hamels.
But even if nothing materializes soon, folks in the organization believe there is a strong enough desire by both parties to continue this relationship beyond this season.
Phillies release right-hander Zambrano
After seven starts split between three Minor League levels, Carlos Zambrano's tenure in the Phillies organization has come to an end.
The club gave the veteran right-hander his unconditional release on Thursday, a little more than two months after Zambrano signed with Philadelphia. In seven Minor League outings, he went 3-0 with a 2.04 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings.
The 32-year-old, however, left a start in late June with shoulder pain and has not pitched since.
"Carlos was showing a pretty solid progression before his shoulder strain," said Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. "Unfortunately, at this point, we feel that his chances of rehabbing and then pitching competitively for us in Philadelphia are remote. We felt that for Carlos and the Phillies this was the right thing to do at this time."
In 12 big league seasons, Zambrano has racked up 132 wins and 1,637 strikeouts. A three-time All-Star, he has spent his entire career in the National League, having previously played for the Cubs and Marlins.