Brown beginning to look comfortable with Phils


Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Posted: 12:05 a.m.

By John R. Finger

WASHINGTONSometimes all it takes is a little bit of time. Not a lot, like a year or so, just a little bit. Sometimes just that little bit of time is all thats needed for the talent to catch up to the hype.

At least thats the way it seems with Dom Brown lately. A little bit of a chance and some patience has Brown swinging the hottest stick on the club these days.

Its just getting the games under my belt, Brown said. Nothing is different, nothing has changed Im just going out there and having fun and playing baseball. Thats it.

Brown went 2 for 4 in Tuesday nights 10-2 defeat at Nationals Park in which he was the clubs lone spark in an otherwise dreary game. Twice he led off innings and belted extra-base hits, including his first homer of the season and third RBI in as many games. More notably, though, Brown pushed his modest hitting streak to six games and he has a hit in seven out of the 10 games hes played in this season.

Better yet, Brown is showing what he can do with a real chance to play where he doesnt have to worry about anyone coming back to the lineup to take his spot, recover from some nagging surgery or wait a turn. Instead, it looks like Brown is finally going to get his chance to show what he can do.

All he has to do is play.

Thats the differenceIm getting a chance to play, Brown said. Even though its mostly against righties, I really know my role here and its easy for me. Charlie and those guys are making it easy for me.

Brown is making it easy for his manager Charlie Manuel, too. Looking to avoid a situation like the one Brown was subjected to last year when he was called up to the big leagues, played steadily for about two weeks while Shane Victorino was on the disabled list, but then was sent to the bench.

And thats where he stayed.

From Aug. 12 until the end of the playoffs, Brown had just 27 at-bats with three of them coming in the nine games of the postseason. Then there was the abortive winter ball stint in the Dominican Republic where Brown says he sat some more and could not regain his rhythm when he finally got a chance to play.

Now Brown looks comfortable. With two more hits on Tuesday, Brown is batting .333 since his call up. During his six-game hitting streak, he is 10 for 19 (.526) with a homer and three doubles. Hes also played a pretty solid right field, as well, which seems like a bonus.

Being comfortable is everything, Brown said. The more games you get to play, the more comfortable youre going to get. Thats all thats going on.

Of course Brown still will get a break when the Phillies face a tough lefty. Manuel likely will go with Ben Francisco in right field against the Nationals lefty John Lannan in the series finale against the Nats on Wednesday afternoon. Then again, that comes with the territory. For a young player confidence comes from success.

Hes swinging the bat good. Real good, Manuel said. This is the best Ive seen him swing it.

But confidence also manifests itself when an opportunity arises, too. That means no longer is he going to have to worry about spinning his wheels. During spring training, Brown was 0 for 15 and experimenting with a new batting technique where he kept his hands lower in his batting stance. The problem with that was he allowed them to get too low but then he broke his hamate bone while connecting for his first (and only) hit of the spring.

Regardless, even before he began to rehab after surgery, Brown decided he was going to go back to holding his hands up high. Besides, spring training is where ballplayers look around to see what works and what does not in their games. Why not? It was with the unique batting stance and unwavering confidence that helped make Brown one of the top prospects in the game.

My confidence is back high, Brown said.

So too is the Phillies confidence in their top prospect.

E-mail John R. Finger at

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