PHILADELPHIA -- From the moment Domonic Brown joined the Phillies as a 20th-round selection in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, he has had a healthy supply of confidence.
That changed in July.
He had been playing fairly regularly for the Phillies, hitting .246 (45-for-183) with 10 doubles, one triple, five homers and 19 RBIs in 54 games, when they acquired Hunter Pence from the Houston Astros on July 29. The Phillies optioned Brown to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he moved from right field to left field. He hit just .227 (20-for-92) with four doubles, one home run and five RBIs in 30 games with Lehigh Valley, struggling to play his new position and hearing boos from the fans in his hometown ballpark.
Brown, whom the Phillies recalled following Friday's game against St. Louis, said it was the first time he has had a crisis of confidence.
"It was tough, man," he said. "It was tough for me. I don't know, man. I was having fun. The numbers just weren't there. For the first time, the confidence level wasn't what it usually is. A new position, struggling out there. I really wasn't used to that at all. It was very different. Very different. The good thing was that we were winning, so that kept me up, kept me around the guys and kept me alive."
The Phillies have acknowledged they did Brown no favors bringing him up last season and having him sit on the bench and bringing him up before he was ready this season.
"I think he's still progressing," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think he's had a different year. When we brought Domonic to the Majors Ruben [Amaro Jr.] and I sat in my office and discussed it. We knew that more than likely he needed experience. We knew that he might struggle."
The Phillies remain hopeful Brown can be the team's everyday left fielder as early as next season.
"If he's the guy we are projecting him to be, then that's part of development," Manuel said of being sent down to the Minor Leagues. "It's a part of being a big leaguer. I played a long time and I used to get my feelings hurt when I got sent down. But what do you do about it? You pick up a Louisville and go down there and try to hit."