Brown Goes Through Growing Pains

Phillies prospect may need extra seasoning





PHILADELPHIA—The Phillies called up Domonic Brown and a handful of others when rosters expanded in September. The 24-year-old batted just once in two weeks with the big club, but he was far from idle.

Brown spent time every afternoon with outfield instructor Juan Samuel, working on footwork and other defensive techniques as he continued to make the switch from right to left field.

When the Phillies went to the playoffs, Brown headed to Florida for instructional league. It was that kind of season for the multi-tooled Brown, one that revealed he still needs much work, offensively and defensively, to reach his potential.

"He's had some adversity for the first time in his career," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "Growing pains. It happens. We're still very high on him."

After breaking his hand in spring training, Brown came to the majors in May and hit .245/.333/.391 in 56 games. His defense in right field was less than smooth.

Looking for an upgrade, the Phillies traded for Hunter Pence in late July and sent Brown to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he hit just .227 with one home run the rest of the season. His psyche bruised after the demotion, Brown's struggles were exacerbated by a position shift after the acquisition of Pence.

"It was all very, very different," Brown said. "For the first time, my confidence level wasn't up where it usually was."

The Phils have pushed Brown to the majors each of the last two seasons.

"We did a little bit of a disservice to him," Amaro said. "He hasn't had the development time needed."

That's why Brown, a 20th-round selection out of a Georgia high school in 2006, watched in September. Though he will get a look in left field in spring training, Amaro said, "In a perfect world, if I had my druthers, I'd keep in him at Triple-A and get him 500 or 600 at-bats and go from there."

PHIL-UPS

• The Phillies gave the White Sox permission to speak with Double-A manager Mark Parent about joining new manager Robin Ventura's big league coaching staff.

• The Phillies hoped to re-sign catcher Tuffy Gosewisch, a pending minor league free agent. Gosewisch caught for Team USA at the World Cup tournament.