CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Domonic Brown certainly had his share of doubters and detractors entering Spring Training.
Those cynics have been harder to find lately.
Brown has been the Phillies' best story in camp. He is hitting .397 (25-for-63) with two doubles, six home runs, 12 RBIs, six walks, eight strikeouts, a .465 on-base percentage and a .714 slugging percentage in 22 Grapefruit League games. He has looked better defensively, and he is a lock to be an everyday player once the season begins April 1 against the Braves in Atlanta.
"Do I look different? Sound different?" Brown said Thursday.
Honestly? He looks great.
"Yeah, I feel like I can hit the ball anywhere," he said. "I feel good. Confidence. The hands. I think the hands have been the biggest thing. I feel like they're in a good slot. I don't feel like I'm doing anything, but getting them in a good hitting position."
Brown changed his grip early in camp. Instead of holding the bat deep in the palm of his hands, they are closer to his fingers.
"That's it," Brown said. "I'm definitely quicker to the ball. What it has allowed me to do is pick up the ball. I've got a lot of time to recognize the pitch. Why couldn't I do that three years ago?"
Brown said he is appreciative the Phillies did not give up on him and send him elsewhere. He said he is looking forward to having his name announced Opening Day.
"It's a dream come true for me," he said. "That's what I've worked for, be in the Opening Day lineup. I've got a lot of goals I have in my mind for this year. The biggest thing is I'm just having fun: 0-for-4, 2-for-3 or whatever. I'm making sure I'm going in the cage afterward and figuring out what's going on. I'm not trying to sound cocky or anything, but in my mind, I don't feel like a pitcher can have enough stuff to get me out. If they're throwing 100 mph, I feel like I can turn it around. But that's just my thought process. I feel like if I'm in a good position to hit, I'm able to do anything."
Two more starts should have Doc ready for season
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies believe two more starts in Florida is plenty for Roy Halladay to be ready to pitch April 3 against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.
Halladay lasted just one inning Sunday in a Grapefruit League game against the Orioles at Bright House Field because of a stomach virus. He lost eight to 10 pounds in a couple days, but after throwing a successful bullpen session Wednesday, Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said Thursday he is confident Halladay will be ready to go in 13 days.
Halladay is pitching in a Minor League Spring Training game Saturday at Carpenter Complex and March 28 in a Grapefruit League game against the Blue Jays at Bright House Field.
"Sure," Dubee said, when asked if two starts are enough for Halladay. "What's the risk? He threw 25 pitches last time out. Our other guys, their last game, they're only going to throw 50 probably. So that was his short haul."
And why pitch Halladay in a Minor League game rather than face the Orioles in a game in Sarasota, Fla.?
"He's missed some time, but more important than that is I didn't want to put him back on a bus," Dubee said. "It's contained germs. Contained germs. That's what's on a bus. It's like flying. Why do people get sick on flights? Because there are germs on there. I don't want to put him in a confined area."
Dubee said he liked what he saw in Halladay's bullpen session Wednesday. He has said Halladay's problems this spring are mechanical, not health related.
Progress for Young, but Phils guarding his timetable
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies said last month they hoped to see Delmon Young play in a Spring Training game before they head north to Philadelphia on March 28.
That is not going to happen, but Young continues to progress from microfracture surgery on his right ankle in November. He worked out in the outfield for the first time Thursday. He also ran the bases with the athletic training staff monitoring him.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Young could face pitching in a simulated game sometime in the next week.
"I'm just going day by day," Young said Thursday. "If I feel good, then we'll keep going along. If I don't, then we'll back off. I really don't know yet. But I feel good. I'm happy with the progress. You want everything to happen right away, but you know it's going to take time to build back up."
Amaro said there remains a chance Young will rejoin the Phillies before May 1, but he wouldn't say if his timetable has been pushed back or not.
Victorino catches up with former teammates
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The real homecoming for Shane Victorino comes May 29-30 when the Red Sox visit Citizens Bank Park for a two-game series. The Phils' trip to Boston's spring home on Thursday -- and Boston's subsequent trip to Clearwater on Sunday -- are just warm-ups.
Victorino, who on Thursday faced the Phillies for the first time since he was traded last year, said he's looking forward to both the spring and regular-season trip to his old stomping grounds.
"Yeah, absolutely," Victorino said. "Of course I am. Of course I'm excited to go back, but you know, again, I think ultimately it'll happen in May, when we come back [to Citizens Bank]. It's going to be nice for me. Will it be tough? Yeah, you know, all the memories. But again, it was good times. And that's how I look at it. ... It didn't end bad. It was just one of those things the opportunity presented itself for a trade to happen."
This isn't about revenge, though. Victorino played 987 games for the Phillies in eight seasons, and he doesn't have any grudges about being traded to the Dodgers -- or the fact that neither the Phillies nor the Dodgers brought him back when he was a free agent this winter.
"Obviously that was a choice," Victorino said of re-signing in Philly. "I feel like I kept that choice open, and it never worked. Obviously they went in a different direction. Hey, it's a part of the game. I understand it's a business. So again, I'm a Red Sox and I'm happy to be one.
"People said the same thing about L.A., when I didn't get my opportunity there. 'What was it?' … I said, 'I don't care. I just want to play the game.'
Victorino said he still follows the Phillies from afar. He caught up with former teammate Jimmy Rollins while they were with Team USA during the World Baseball Classic, and Victorino also recently exchanged text messages with Ryan Howard.
"I'm going to definitely pay attention to them and wish them the best of luck in the National League," said Victorino.