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Question of the Day
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Domonic Brown hit 23 homers in the first half last year, played in the All-Star game and showed why the Philadelphia Phillies considered him an untouchable prospect.
Now they’re waiting for him to do it again.
Brown has struggled this season at the plate and in the outfield. Fans are running out of patience, giving him an earful of boos this week. The organization might be tired of waiting, too. The addition of three-time All-Star Grady Sizemore, who signed a minor-league deal earlier this week, could mean Brown might losing his starting job soon.
“Well, Domonic is our left fielder as we speak,” manager Ryne Sandberg said this week.
That’s not much of an endorsement.
Brown wasn’t in the starting lineup for the second straight night Friday when the Phillies opened a four-game series against Atlanta. Though Philadelphia was six games under .500 going into the game, they only trailed NL East-leading Washington by five games and the second-place Braves by four games.
“It’s just been a frustrating year for myself,” Brown said. “I mean, we still have three months to go, but I have to pick it up for sure.”
Brown was batting .218 with five homers and 38 RBIs entering the weekend. He has only 17 extra-base hits and his slugging percentage (.321) is seventh-worst in the majors.
“He’s really developed an uppercut swing,” Sandberg said. “He’s missing his pitches and it puts him in the hole a lot of at-bats.”
Then, there’s his defense.
Brown has been a liability in the outfield throughout his young career. He misplayed a liner that led to three runs in a 3-2 loss to Miami on Wednesday.
Before that pitch, Brown was standing upright. He froze when the ball was hit and took a step in instead of going back. It sailed over his head for an RBI double and the next batter hit a two-run double. After that inning, Brown made sure he was in ready position when pitches were delivered.
“I had a good conversation with him about making adjustments and then trying to apply them during the game, both on the offensive and defensive side of things, being prepared out there on defense for every pitch, knowing the game situation, getting good jumps on balls,” Sandberg said.
Some players take their offensive woes into the field. That can cause mental lapses and lack of concentration.
“If you feel good offensively, definitely you feel good the other way around,” Brown said. “But you can’t take your at-bats to the field. Bottom line, point blank.”
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