Domonic Brown isn't looking over his shoulder and he says that has made all the difference in the world. While it still is too early to suggest that Brown has arrived, especially with some prior false alarms, his play of late has been encouraging to the Phillies.
Brown went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored in Thursday's 7-2 win over the Miami Marlins. He tied the score at 1-1 with a second inning solo home run that left the yard in about three seconds.
It's still early, but Brown is now batting .266 with four home runs and 13 RBIs. Lately he has been on fire, hitting .387with two homers and seven RBIs over his last eight games.
"You find a rhythm when you are playing every day," Brown said.
And in that respect, he gives a great deal of credit to manager Charlie Manuel, who has stuck with Brown, when an early season slump may have caused a more impatient person to pull him from the lineup.
"It's been a blessing for Charlie to tell me I am in the lineup," Brown said.
And Brown said it has caused him to be more relaxed at the plate.
"In big situations with the game on the line, I am more confident," he said.
Manuel joked after the game that Brown looked like he was swinging for the fences in the at-bats after his home run.
The Phillies manager credits hitting coaches Steve Henderson and Wally Joyner for Brown's development.
"Henderson and Wally Joyner have been really good for him and talk to him a lot," Manuel said.
The difference, however, is Brown's approach.
"He is more receptive to things now and that comes from being around a Major League team and took him a while to get used to things and learned what it was about," Manuel said.
A few years ago Brown was considered among the best prospects in baseball. After three previous stints with the Phillies, he never appeared to live up to that massive hype.
And even now, he must strive to be more consistent, but he has benefited greatly from Manuel's confidence and at this point, has rewarded his manager for his patience.