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ENTOWN, Pa. -- Domonic Brown has been -- and remains -- the most talked about Phillies' Minor Leaguer in years. Fans seem to always call for the promotion of the athletic 6-foot-5 outfielder with the powerful left-handed bat and loads of potential.
Brown, now 24, has spent this season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley to become a more seasoned player, acquire everyday at-bats and hone his defensive skills in left field. Though many outside the organization suggested calling Brown up after a couple good weeks in the batter's box, the Phillies want him to have prolonged success this season before they consider recalling him.
But it's difficult for any player to put together any type of elongated, uninterrupted string of performances when injuries keep sidelining them. That's been the narrative of this season for Brown, who is currently out yet again with a strained posterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his right knee. It's unknown how long he will be out of the lineup, and right now it seems the only remedy is rest to let the swelling diminish.
If it's any consolation to Phillies fans, Brown, who battled back from early-season injuries to his left hamstring and knee, is staying optimistic after his latest injury. He doesn't expect to be out too long.
"You seem like you're more stressed out about it than I am," Brown said to a reporter after Friday's MRI results revealed the strains.
"Injuries are part of the game. We still have a couple months to go. We'll see what happens. I think I'm in a good spot."
It appeared that Brown, who played in 91 games with the Phillies over 2010 and 2011, was just starting to hit his stride from the plate at Lehigh Valley. In his last 17 games before the injury, he had seven multi-hit games, four home runs (including a two-homer game on June 5), three doubles and seven RBIs.
On the season, he's hitting .266 with four homers and 22 RBIs.
The Phillies had also mixed things up in terms of his position. Though the organization moved him to left field after they acquired Hunter Pence last July, Brown recently started playing some center field after Joe Jordan, the Phillies' director of player development, saw him shagging fly balls in center.
A 2006 20th-round Draft pick by Philadelphia, Brown played center field during his first few years in the Phillies' farm system and said it's actually where he prefers to play. It's easier for him to read the ball off the bat from center and he likes the leadership role that comes with the position.
"I grew up playing center field, so I mean it's almost like home for me," he said. "I want to get like that in left field, as well."
Jordan said Brown was doing a solid job at both positions and the club was seeing progress with Brown's game on both sides of the ball.
"He's worked very hard, and his attitude has been more than anyone can ask for for a guy that's dealt with so many injuries and that type of thing," Jordan said by phone. "He's really come to work every day. So I'm disappointed for him [with the injury] in that way, but I don't think we have a final determination on this last [injury], and hopefully it will be something short term and we can get back out there and get him going."
The IronPigs still have two-and-a-half months left in their season, so there is plenty of time for Brown to return and get into another groove. But there is no denying that the injury does not come with the best timing and it denies Brown the chance to have a continuous, interruption-free latter three-quarters of the season.
"He has a great attitude. He works very hard. He's well liked, and he plays hard," Lehigh Valley manager Ryne Sandberg said. "But it's hard to play hard when you're not healthy, and this is the third or fourth setback that he's had in the two months up to this point. That's slowed him up as far as his progress and really for him to show what he can do on a baseball field."
But to his credit, Brown, once regarded as the top-rated prospect in the organization, remains upbeat. The way he looks at it: he's only 24, and he's got a long career ahead of him.
"I'm really not [worried about the latest injury]," he said. "The last time they said a couple days and it was a while. But if it happens to happen like that, then it's not that big a deal. I'll just get out there and get back playing the game. It's really not that big a deal.
"I know injuries are a part of baseball and things are gonna happen. I mean we're still winning ballgames. I don't know, I kind of look at things differently. That's just me as a person. But I've got to get healthy and that's it."