After Domonic Brown fouled off a pair of tough 2-2 breaking balls, a Phillies fan let the one-time top prospect have it.
“C’mon, you’re dropping your hands again,” the fan bellowed during a game against the Detroit Tigers. “Can’t you do anything right?”
Brown, 25, followed that up by blasting a prodigious homer over the batter’s eye in center. The 450-foot shot shut up the fatalist Phillies fan.
Before camp commenced there was considerable doubt shrouding Brown. Pundits and fans were skeptical if the one-time, highly touted player, who turned down a University of Miami football scholarship, would ever pan out.
After two injury-marred seasons, it appears that Brown is putting it all together.
“I know I can help this club win,” Brown said. “I know I have the ability to make a difference. Coming in here, I knew I had to stay healthy and remain focused.”
Brown, who broke a bone in his hand during spring training two years ago and suffered through a variety of injuries last season, is in the best shape of his life.
“I added about 10 pounds of muscle,” Brown said while pointing to his chest. “I feel good.”
More importantly, he looks great at the plate.
“I’ve cut down my swing,” Brown said. “I’ve talked to Charlie [Manuel] a lot about hitting. I can’t think of anyone who knows more about hitting than Charlie. He has helped me cut the long swing. All I do is think about hitting. When I go to bed at night, that’s what I’m thinking about and that’s what I think about during the day.”
But it’s not only about hitting. Brown is running decent routes, making few gaffes on the base paths and has pleased Manuel.
“He’s doing what he has to do,” Manuel said. “We all know what he’s capable of. He has tremendous potential. He’s someone that could be a special player.”
Special in Manuel’s book is an everyday player, something the skipper hinted at last week. Brown also owes a great deal to the third-base coach Ryne Sandberg, who managed him in Lehigh Valley.
“Ryne is just a tremendous guy,” Brown said. “I could talk to him about anything and he just helped me a great deal. The whole experience at Lehigh Valley helped me become a better ballplayer. I loved it. The fans are incredibly supportive there. They always had my back. It’s a special place.”
But will the Phillies fans have his back as he takes another shot in Citizens Bank Park?
“If I do my job, it’ll all work out,” Brown said. “I expect to come through. I visualize that. If I play the way I’m capable of, I’ll give the fans no choice but to support me [in Philadelphia].”