"It felt great," said Brown, who just last spring was rated as one of the top five prospects in all of baseball by Baseball America. "It felt like I was at home. It's been a long time for me, but I'm here now, and it's a great feeling."
To the outside world, it may have looked like Brown's stock had slipped dramatically in the year since the Phillies sent him back to Triple A after acquiring Pence. He struggled at the plate the last month of the minor league season, then struggled in the field during major league spring training. He has also been plagued by nagging injuries, including a knee that sidelined him for nearly a month.
But Brown said he always felt like the Phillies had faith in him. It is easy to forget that he was a league-average hitter over 56 major league games at the age of 23, hitting .245 with a .333 on-base percentage and five home runs in 210 plate appearances. The Phillies had questions about his defense, but they managed to go 33-16 in his starts, which, at the very least, indicates that he wasn't a fatal liability.
One year later, Brown has added leftfield and centerfield to his resume. Charlie Manuel said he could see time at all three outfield positions. The initial plan was to have him in the lineup Tuesday night, but a delayed flight out of Syracuse meant he did not arrive until game time. He ended up pinch-hitting, knocking a single up the middle in the eighth inning to improve his batting average to 1.000. Manuel said he will start Wednesday night's game.
"I think that was one of the big things about going down this year, I learned how to play all three positions," Brown said. "I think I'm pretty comfortable with that. Whatever Charlie calls on, I have to answer to it."
Cliff Lee's name was a fixture in the rumor mill leading up to Tuesday's trade deadline, and the veteran lefthander said that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. addressed the scuttlebutt with him.
"They told us that it was rumors and that there wasn't anything really in the works," Lee said. "Ruben did tell me that some teams proposed some stuff to him, but nothing that ever made anything close to sense for the Phillies . . .
"I signed here to win here. Obviously, nobody's happy with the way this year has gone. But this is where I want to be. We've still got a lot of talent. We've had a tough draw this year with injuries and stuff. If we can finish this year strong - who knows what's going to happen this year? - but with the moves they've made, hopefully it's going to make the team that much better in the future."
By the way, Lee (2-6) did get the win Tuesday night in the Phillies' 8-0 win over the Nationals, allowing only five hits in seven innings and striking out seven. He also singled, drove in a run, stole a base and scored on Jimmy Rollins' inside-the-park homer.
Ruben Amaro Jr. said the team would continue to monitor Roy Halladay's health, but that he does not think that shutting the righthander down is something that the team needs to consider at this point . . . Lefthanded pitchers Jake Diekman and Joe Savery were optioned to Triple A Lehigh Valley after the game to make room for newly acquired righthander Josh Lindblom and outfielder Nate Schierholtz. The moves mean that catcher Erik Kratz will remain with the team, giving them a righthanded power bat off the bench. Charlie Manuel said Kratz could also see some time at first base if needed.
Contact David Murphy at email@example.com. For more Phillies coverage and opinion, read David Murphy's blog, High Cheese, at www.philly.com/HighCheese. Follow him on Twitter at @HighCheese.