Rowand Starting To Relax With Phils

Aaron Rowand hasn't been the player that he was in Chicago since his arrival in Philadelphia. Finally though, Rowand appears to be getting more comfortable and the real Aaron Rowand is starting to shine through.

At the end of the season, if Aaron Rowand puts up big numbers, people will look for a turning point after his slow start. That point could be April 12th in Atlanta. Finally, the real Aaron Rowand started to emerge and contributed a homerun and a bullet throw from center field to help nail a runner at the plate.

While Rowand doesn't want to offer any excuses for his slow start, he does know that he's been pressing to show what he can do. "I never felt like I had anything to prove. But, I wanted to show my teammates and the fans what I can do," admitted Rowand after Wednesday night's win over the Braves.

The proving has begun.

"I've been swinging the bat a little better and hitting the ball harder. It was good to get one up in the air," said Rowand, talking about his first homerun as a Phillie. The blast gave the Phillies a little needed insurance over the Atlanta Braves and proved vital as Atlanta rallied, but came up short, losing 7-5. Rowand has now hit safely in 6 of his last 14 at bats (.429).

Rowand also had a chance to show off some of the defensive skills that fans were told he possessed when he came over from Chicago. With Braves' catcher Brian McCann attempting to score, Rowand played a ball hit by Wilson Betemit perfectly off the Turner Field fence and fired a strike to Jimmy Rollins, who then gunned down McCann at the plate for the final out of the second inning. "I just have to get it anywhere around Jimmy and he'll throw somebody out. He's a great shortstop," remarked a humble Rowand after the game.

A turn around by Rowand would be a huge step forward for the Phillies, who are off to a 2-6 start. Wednesday night's first win on the road, Rowand's first homerun and Tom Gordon's first save as a Phillie could well be a sign that things are starting to come together. It's a little more than a week late, but at least there are good signs. "The best thing you can do is stay positive," stressed Rowand, who believes the Phillies have the makings of a winning club. "This is a great clubhouse. There are no egos in here. Anytime you have a group like that, you have a chance."

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