Outfielder Corey Brown lounged on a clubhouse recliner this afternoon, his right leg wrapped up and resting straight out. Brown did imagine he would end up in that position Sept. 6, when the Nationals called him to the majors for the first time.
Days after becoming a major leaguer, and after he had received only three at-bats, Brown developed a staph infection that required surgery. He anticipates a full recovery within five weeks and it should not affect him by next spring training. But it was a disappointing beginning to his major league career.
“It’s definitely not the way I intended my first” call-up, Brown said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity. Hopefully next year, I can bounce back. Hopefully, God has a plan. I’m not the most religious person, but I listen to what my mom says.”
The infection first surfaced about seven weeks ago, when Brown was playing at Class AAA Syracuse.
“It started out as a whitehead,” Brown said. “It’s not that uncommon to get a whitehead because of our pants, our socks. Also, minor league clubhouses aren’t the cleanest. I just popped it like a normal whitehead.”
Syracuse trainers suspected his knee had been infected and worried it may be staph. Brown was given antibiotics, which eliminated the signs of infection. “It went away and it wasn’t a big deal,” Brown said.
At the time Brown was promoted, another whitehead swelled up on his knee. Trainers administered more antibiotics, but “this time, it just didn’t get any better,” Brown said. When the Nationals left for New York, Brown remained in Washington and was inspected by team physician Wiemi Douoguih. A day later, Douoguih performed the surgery.
Brown holds no ill will toward the Nationals or the conditions that caused the infection. He said open wounds from sliding frequently lead to infections and that he just caught a bad break.
The Nationals acquired Brown, 25, in the offseason trade that also brought Henry Rodriguez and sent Josh Willingham to the Oakland Athletics. In 124 games at Class AAA Syracuse this year, Brown hit .235/.326/.402 with 14 home runs and four steals.