Brito's first homer boosts his confidence

D-backs outfielder steps up after being thrust into larger role

Brito's first homer boosts his confidence

PHOENIX -- The first pitch in the bottom of fifth inning of Sunday's 7-3 loss to the Cubs is one Socrates Brito will always remember.

It was an 88-mph slider that started in the right hand of Cubs starter Jake Arrieta, landed in the area on the other side of the wall in right field and will end up back at Brito's home in the Dominican Republic.

For now, the scuffed ball rests in the corner of Brito's locker. The young outfielder, who has been thrust into center field duties with Chris Owings because of the injury to starter A.J. Pollock, hopes it's the first of many homers to come.

"The first home run you hit in the Major Leagues is something that you will never forget," Brito, 23, said. "I happy about and it's great that it came against a Cy Young winner like Arrieta, but I would feel so much better if we would have won the game. I'm happy and it's great, but we want to win the game."

Brito's home run tied the game at 3. The D-backs would not score again.

"He's a good ballplayer and you don't realize how young he is because the game so easy to him," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "You watch him and you think he's a 30-year-old kid, but he's a young guy still learning and he's going to make some mistakes, and that's OK. That's part of the game."

Brito, who is known primarily as a corner outfielder, made three starts in center field during the first week of the season. He went 2-for-4 Sunday and has four hits in 14 at-bats overall. He and Owings will continued to be matched up against pitchers during the 10-day road trip that starts Tuesday in Los Angeles.

"I'm comfortable here in this clubhouse with the guys, and I'll do what the manager wants me to do on the field," Brito said. "One of the best things here is how helpful everyone has been and all of the advice they are giving me. I'm trying to get better every day and I can tell they want the best from me."

He is already making special plans for his first home run ball.

"I'll keep this ball in safe place at home, but a safe place where people can see," Brito said. "People will walk in and see it and know how hard I worked for that first one. It will be a trophy."

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.