Lehigh Valley's Domonic Brown
entered this season with the weight of high expectations placed firmly on his shoulders.
Philadelphia Phillies fans expected Brown to take over in right field for the departed Jayson Werth. They also expected Brown to become an All-Star -- and soon.
Brown has learned that dealing with those expectations has become just as important as dealing with the fastballs of opposing pitchers.
"I'm just working on having fun, playing the game hard and playing it the right way," Brown said. "That's really it. I came in to Spring Training with a lot of high hopes. I still have some high hopes, but I broke my hand."
That broken hand forced him to miss most of Spring Training and delayed the start of his 2011 season. He didn't join the IronPigs until May 2, but he has quickly made an impression, collecting at least one hit in all nine games he has played. He is batting .353 with two homers and seven RBIs.
"He's an exciting guy to watch because there are a lot of things he can do on a baseball field," said Lehigh Valley manager Ryne Sandberg. "He covers a lot of ground in the outfield and has a strong arm. He plays the game hard and offensively, he shows his potential and brings a lot of things to the table."
Brown has missed the past few games because of thumb tenderness unrelated to his preseason injury, according to Sandberg. Brown said he was pleased with his recovery from the original surgery.
"I usually set high goals for myself, but I didn't really do much of that this year," he admitted. "The [Spring Training] injury was a setback, so I just wanted to get back and play every day.
"That was the big test -- the nerve was pinched under the bone, so I didn't know what to expect. But I felt I came back pretty quickly and I feel I'm hitting the ball pretty well."
He also seems to be dealing well with his status as one of the game's top prospects.
"I've gone through the prospect thing for the past couple of years, so I have learned to adapt," Brown said. "I take it one day at a time, not getting too high or too low. I just want to stay even-keeled every day.
"I tell kids, 'It's the same ballgame, there's just more fans.' There's a lot of other stuff, too -- that's why they call it 'The Show.' But I just try to calm down and do the things that I do. It's a matter of settling in and getting comfortable."
Hall of Famer Sandberg also deals with a fair amount of notoriety as he travels around the International League, so he knows more than a little about the attention Brown has been garnering.
"There is some pressure that comes along with having that kind of ability, that kind of status," Sandberg said. "I think he handles it very well. He blends in well with the rest of the guys."
Six for six: Columbus RHP Zach McAllister has made six starts this season and he has picked up six victories. What's more, after allowing four runs over five innings in his first start April 10, McAllister has had five consecutive quality starts. For the season, he has allowed 36 hits and six walks in 39 innings while fanning 29 to post a 3.00 ERA.
He said it: "The saying is, 'You've got to play hard for nine innings.' But we had to play 18 tonight." -- Rochester's Dustin Martin to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle on May 9 after he scored the winning run in a 7-6 victory over Louisville. The 18-inning game was the longest in Frontier Field's 15-year history.
He said it, Part II:: "You look at (Ryan Adams) a year later and it's a complete turnaround. He's matured. He takes advantage of every minute. (Orioles Minor League instructor Mike Bordick and I) have said some pretty tough things to him, and to his credit, he's responded." -- Baltimore Minor League infield coordinator Bobby Dickerson to the The Virginian-Pilot. Adams is playing better defense at second base and he's still hitting, batting .303 with 16 runs scored in his first 33 games.