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Being sent down doesnâ??t deter Brown Paul Sokoloski Opinion


February 16. 2013 2:49AM


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His swing appeared so easy and so smooth, it fit perfectly in the serenity of such a beautifully sunny and warm Florida day that seemed fit for the front of a postcard.


It was an afternoon Dominic Brown could write home about.


All because he kept ruining the tranquility.


Each ball Brown hit kept jolting violently off his bat, almost as if he'd inserted some type of electrical outlet into its barrel.


It's hard to say anyone was shocked.


This is the kind of performance the Philadelphia Phillies envisioned for Brown, who ended up a double shy of hitting for the cycle Monday.


But he did it against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in a minor league game played on Richie Ashburn Field at the Carpenter Complex, not for the Phillies at their spring training home of Bright House Field.


That's where Brown planned to be, until the Phillies optioned him to their Triple-A Lehigh Valley team on Friday.


Instead of sulking about the demotion, though, Brown came out swinging.


"I'm just having fun," Brown said.


Not like last spring.


The Phillies thought Brown was ready to be their next right fielder, so they didn't even consider spending the kind of insane money the Washington Nationals did to land Jayson Werth.


But Brown couldn't make the jump from the minors to the major leagues.


He struggled mightily at the start of spring training in 2011, and the Phillies sent him back to play for Triple-A Lehigh Valley for most of last season. He hit well there, but the 6-foot-5, 200-pound outfielder batted just .245 with five homers and 19 RBI in 56 games for the Phillies last season.


They wanted more production out of him.


And the 24-year-old prospect gave that to the Phillies in flashes this spring, hitting .300 with a homer, two doubles and two RBI. But he played in just seven spring games this month while battling an assortment of injuries that kept him out of the lineup.


"I know a little more what to expect," Brown said. "I've been nicked up a little more this spring. I'm just going out there and playing every day the best I can."


His best overwhelmed the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in a minor league exhibition game.


Brown took a pitch from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starter Shaeffer Hall high over the right field wall for a homer that produced the game's first run in the first inning.


Then Brown followed that with a laser-like shot back through the box that nearly ripped Hall's legs off before landing in center field for a single. And when ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte took the mound for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Brown's shot to right field took off for a triple in the sixth inning.


His bid for the cycle ended in the eighth inning with a ground out that left Brown groaning.


Just beyond the left field wall where Brown stood, he could hear the roar of the crowd watching the Phillies play the Boston Red Sox at the same time.


But he doesn't have time to think about what could have been, or what could be, right now.


"I'm not thinking about it at all," Brown said. "I leave that to Ruben (Phillies general manager Amaro) and those guys. I'm concerned with just playing right now."


It's the only way to break through the haze of a still-promising career and make his outlook seem nearly as perfect as the day.




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