And the toothy grin the Phillies' top prospect flashed sitting in the dugout at Citizens Bank Park on Friday afternoon likely made up for the bowl of cereal and fruit he had to miss to drive from Moosic, Pa., to Philadelphia, where he joined the Phillies as he tries to make his case to be the everyday right fielder.
"That's the big goal this time, to get here and stay here and just have fun," said Brown, who was hitting .341 after 41 at-bats with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. "I was having fun last year, but it was a totally different ballgame coming off the bench for myself."
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel expects Brown to be in the lineup Saturday against Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis and will ease him in against lefties. The decision to bring Brown to Philadelphia surprised many after general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he didn't think he was ready to be called up.
That all changed after a meeting with Manuel on Thursday night.
"There's still a question about whether he's ready to come and play on a regular basis here," Amaro said. "But circumstances change, and I changed my mind. It's pretty simple."
Added Amaro: "Is this the right thing to do? I'm not sure. But it's the right thing to do for this club right now."
Center fielder Shane Victorino was placed on the 15-day disabled list early Friday with a strained right hamstring, and the offensive struggles of right fielder Ben Francisco likely factored into the decision to bring up Brown.
Victorino injured himself Saturday in Atlanta. He said he would be ready to play in a couple days, but it never happened. He finally had an MRI exam on Thursday, which revealed a strain. Amaro said he regretted not having the MRI earlier.
"In retrospect, we probably should have," he said. "But again, you listen to your players sometimes and you don't make the right decisions."
This is Brown's second stint with the Phillies after seeing minimal time last season when he was called up in July and saw his playing time decrease toward the fall. He lost out on winning the job in right field to Francisco in Spring Training when he fractured the hamate bone in his right hand. Brown appeared in five rehab games with Class A Clearwater prior to joining the IronPigs, with whom he recently missed five games because of a UCL sprain in his right thumb.
Now the thumb is healed, and Brown is eager to take advantage of the opportunity before him.
"I feel like I'm always ready," he said. "I feel like I was ready the day I signed. I don't mean I was, but that's just the high expectations I expect of myself."
Added Manuel: "I think he does make us a better team. We'll see if he can hold his own and handle it. We'll give him every opportunity. We'll monitor him. Hopefully, he'll be good enough to let him go."
Nate Mink is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less