Phillies' Brown struggling in return to triple A

Since his demotion to triple A, Domonic Brown has knocked in just two runs in 67 at-bats while going hitless in nine games.
Since his demotion to triple A, Domonic Brown has knocked in just two runs in 67 at-bats while going hitless in nine games. (MARC NARDUCCI / Staff)
Posted: August 22, 2011

ALLENTOWN - The skeleton-themed jersey was a new promotion, but not quite surprising. Same goes for the small monkeys that rode the backs of dogs as part of Rodeo Night. But the top-prospect-turned-Mendoza-line balancing act? That's not quite as easy to advertise.

In the three weeks since he was demoted to triple-A Lehigh Valley, Domonic Brown hasn't been able to find a groove at the plate. Since returning here, he has knocked in just two runs in 67 at-bats while going hitless in nine games for a batting average of .179.

And now, with the Phillies looking for a lefthanded bat to come off their bench in the stretch run and into the playoffs, their top prospect may have to watch one of his minor-league teammates get the call to the bigs.

Not one to shy away from his struggles, the 23-year-old Brown said that he's still approaching the game one day at a time. He said he is able to maintain his positive attitude because of his love for the game and the help of teammates.

"I think that's the big thing, having good guys around you to help you when you're struggling," Brown said. "It ain't no big deal."

Just a year removed from being named one of the top prospects in all of baseball, Brown was sent down to Lehigh Valley on July 30, a day after the Phillies acquired outfielder Hunter Pence. In the minors, Brown has moved from right to left field and is playing every day, something he likely wouldn't be doing if he had stayed in Philadelphia.

"That's what I want to do, play every day," Brown said. "I'm not worried about anything else. As long as I'm in that lineup, then we're all good."

Brown said he hasn't encountered much difficulty while adjusting to left field. He made two errors on Wednesday night, including losing a ball in the lights. But, he said those things are going to happen.

"I'm learning a new position, taking it one day at a time, and make sure I'm having fun doing it," Brown said.

Projected to start the season as the Phillies' opening-day rightfielder, Brown instead began his year on the disabled list after breaking a bone in his hand during spring training. He made his way back to the Phillies lineup near the end of May and hit .246 with five home runs and 19 RBIs.

But now, with the Phillies in need of a lefty bat, Brown may not be the top minor-league candidate to join the big-league club. Teammate Brandon Moss is hitting .269 with a team-high 22 home runs and appears to be first in line for a promotion. Brown said he hasn't heard anything from the Phillies concerning a call-up when rosters expand in September or what his role will be next season.

"I don't worry about that kind of stuff," Brown said. "That's when you really start to get bothered mentally. I just play. That's all I can do."

Brown played winter ball in Venezuela after last season but left after struggling through nine games. Phillies assistant general manager Chuck LaMar said the organization hasn't made an official decision yet, but most likely will allow Brown to take some time off at season's end and "get away from the game."


Contact staff writer Matt Breen

at mbreen@phillynews.com

or @matt_breen on Twitter.

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