Huge year at Triple-A earns Brown a September shot

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Beanballs,Sports,Brian McNally

The Nationals made what will likely be their final September recall, barring injury, when they promoted outfielder Corey Brown.

Brown, 26, has already played with Washington nine times this season so the move came as no surprise. He is just 3-for-16 with a double, a home run and two RBI, but can pinch hit, is a solid defensive player and fast enough to pinch run.

After a disappointing first season with the organization in 2011, Brown rebounded with a vengeance at Triple-A Syracuse. He was second in the International League in homers (25), triples (nine) and slugging percentage (.523). He batted .285, had a .365 on-base percentage and stole 18 bases. He’ll have a limited role with the Nats this month, but is just happy to be part of a pennant race in the big leagues.

“I think for anyone it might be a little tough at first just trying to get used to another role,” Brown said. “But knowing that this is going to be my role this year – and who knows how long – obviously I’m definitely going to accept it and just try to make the best of it. Like I said, if I get up for a pinch hit [or] for defense just try to go out there play as hard as I can and help the team out.”

Washington manager Davey Johnson noted that outfielder Roger Bernadina has the same skill set and is ahead of Brown in the pecking order. As long as there are no injuries Brown isn’t going to get much playing time. But the Nats believe he brings some value and the experience should help him going into spring training next season.

“I’ve said previously that I think last year I put more pressure on myself just being part of a trade and whatnot. And it unfortunately turned out to not be the best season,” said Brown, who was acquired with reliever Henry Rodriguez in a trade with Oakland for veteran outfielder Josh Willingham after the 2010 season. “Where this year I just tried to come in with a clear mind and just be able to kind of put last year behind me, I guess you could say. It turned out to be probably my best season of my professional career. I’m just trying to build from that and not feel like I have to start over because I’m back up here.”

Brown said he’s tried to gather advice from veteran players like Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche and Mark DeRosa. But even those closer to his own age, like Tyler Moore, Steve Lombardozzi and even Bryce Harper – all of whom have more big-league time at this point – has been helpful.

“You see it on TV, the Nationals are being talked about day-in and day-out,” Brown said. “You can see the highlights of the games and just the sellout crowds. It’s definitely something that I think any player would be excited to be a part of. So I’m just trying to soak it all in once again and then, like I said, hopefully I can go out there and help.”

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Brian McNally

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner