Domonic Brown relishes first All-Star experience

Domonic Brown relishes first All-Star experience

July 15, 2013, 5:30 pm
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NEW YORK – Domonic Brown foresaw this moment back in February.

While many folks around baseball wondered if he’d ever be a regular player in the major leagues, Brown saw himself being in the All-Star Game. This All-Star Game.

“I had to envision that,” the 25-year-old Phillies leftfielder said at All-Star festivities Monday. “If I had envisioned something else, lowered my expectations, I don’t think I’d be here.”

When Brown reported to Phillies’ camp in February, he was a major question mark. He’d had big-league auditions, but they didn’t go particularly well. He’d struggled with nagging injuries. Overall, his performance hadn’t matched his potential. Phillies officials made it clear in camp that Brown needed to perform well to win a job. Brown knew that, too. Early in camp, he acknowledged that time might be running out for him in Philadelphia. He once offered the ol’ “there are 29 other teams out there” remark, a sure sign of a player’s uncertain status.

Now, there’s only one team for Brown. A strong spring training won him a job and an even better first half has turned him into the Phillies’ only position player at this All-Star Game.

Brown is hitting .273 with a team-high 23 homers and 67 RBIs. He ranks third in the league in homers and fourth in RBIs and extra-base hits. Changes to his hand positioning has helped him at the plate. He’s lowered his hands and is getting to pitches more quickly. Confidence has also helped his offense. It always does.

Brown has also improved greatly on defense. He has seven outfield assists, fourth-most in the NL.

“I’ve worked very hard,” Brown said. “I think one of the biggest things that has helped me is just playing every day, getting consistent at-bats against right-handers and left-handers.”

Pitcher Cliff Lee, the Phillies’ other All-Star, credited Brown and Michael Young as two key figures in the Phils staying in the hunt. The Phils surged to .500 with a 7-3 homestand that concluded Sunday. Before the homestand, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. warned that some players could be traded away if the Phils didn’t make up ground in the standings in a hurry. The Phils are 6 1/2 games back in the NL East and 5 1/2 back in the wild-card race.

“I think these last 10 games were a big statement for us,” Brown said. “We definitely showed we can play good ball.

“But I think the run definitely needs to keep going. If we get off to a slow start anything can happen. I definitely hope we don’t break this team up, but that’s part of the business. We need to start out hot in the second half before the trade deadline.”

The Phils resume play Friday night at Citi Field and against the Mets.

But first, Domonic Brown gets to play in the All-Star Game, also at Citi Field.

“It’s a dream come true,” Brown said. “Hopefully one of many.”

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