Hands down, Brown is ready for right-field battle

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Domonic Brown has bulked up and changed his batting stance. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies' position players are not scheduled to report to spring training until Friday.

Domonic Brown got here more than two months ago.

"Three days after I left the Dominican," the rookie right fielder said Tuesday.

Well aware that he has the opportunity of a lifetime and that his swing needed a fix, Brown wanted to immediately remove the bitter taste of a miserable nine-game stay in the Dominican Republic, which is why he started showing up at Bright House Field in early December.

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"I went down there and played pretty poorly, so that gave me a little bit of motivation," Brown said. "I'm not a guy at all to make excuses. I went down and played bad."

Brown hit .069 (2-for-29) with Escogido and the Phillies' official reason for his departure from the Dominican was that he had grown tired. For the first time Tuesday, Brown disputed that claim.

"Like I said, I don't use that stuff as excuses," he said. "A lot of those guys down there played the whole season, too, so you just have to go out there and work through it. I wanted to come (to Clearwater) and work on my swing because I know I had a lot of kinks that weren't there before."

Watching the 23-year-old Brown take batting practice on a sunny Tuesday morning, it is obvious that he has lowered his hands when he gets set to hit.

"It's not that far removed from where he was at the start of last spring and through his minor-league seasons at Reading and Lehigh Valley," hitting instructor Greg Gross said. "In talking to people who had been around him ... we noticed he had got really upright, straight up and down, and his hands were a whole lot higher than they had been previously, so what we did was we went back through tapes."

Gross and Brown reviewed those tapes during a January minicamp in Clearwater.

"We showed him just his setup," Gross said. "We showed him where he was at last spring and where he was at near the end of the year and he had a month from then until now to try to get back to where he was at the start of last season."

Brown said he is comfortable with his new stance and ready to compete for the starting job in right field.

"The trick is going to be when he starts seeing live pitching," Gross said. "But I think it's going to be pretty much a non-factor because I think he's going to get to the position where he normally was once he gets playing."

You can read more about Brown in Wednesday's Inquirer. 

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