Buffalo Bisons outfielder Anthony Gose returned to the lineup for Saturday’s game the Durham Bulls after being benched for two games by manager Marty Brown for a costly defensive lapse.
Gose’s lack of concentration in center field during the ninth inning led to two runs by Gwinnett and a 5-4 loss on Wednesday, which landed the talented 22-year-old on the bench Thursday and Friday.
Gose, who generally hits in the one or two hole because of his speed, batted ninth against the Durham Bulls.
“It’s not a punishment,” Brown said before Saturday’s game. “It’s a situation where he has to figure out how to get on base and figure out a way to battle, not so much worrying about his mechanics and worrying about where my hands are, where my leg kick is. It has to become a desire to win the one-on-one confrontation with the starter, the pitcher, and understanding how to battle through that.”
In 53 games with the Herd, Gose is batting .228 with two home runs, 15 RBIs and seven stolen bases. Brown said Gose needs to address the little parts of his game like running hard and putting pressure on the outfielders.
“I think he’s got some challenges, and I don’t know how he’s going to meet those challenges unless he’s in the lineup,” Brown said. “He’s highly frustrated with how things have gone to this point, and he needs to get out and play and get back to doing some of the positive things that make him special.”
Gose put up solid numbers for Blue Jays manager John Gibbons during his 13-game stint with Toronto when he batted .304 with two stolen bases, although those numbers are gauged in a limited number of at-bats (23).
“Gibby wasn’t throwing him out there against lefties and righties who dominate left-handed hitters,” Brown said. “If you look at it, it can be misleading somewhat when you look at a guy hitting .300 but of course that’s difficult for Anthony to see.”
Brown said he didn’t know if Gose was bothered by his demotion back to Buffalo but clearly he hasn’t performed as well since returning. In his last 10 games, Gose is batting just. 216 with an RBI and a stolen base.
Gose was not available for comment prior to Saturday’s game.
“This is my point with Anthony when I talked to him, when he comes through the door, whether it’s here or in Toronto, it’s about winning the game that day,” Brown said.
“It’s not about outside factors of what’s going on around you as much as taking care of your game. I think that’s what we’ve agreed upon and I think that’s what he’s going to go out and try and achieve.”
Gose is arguably the best athlete in the Blue Jays’ farm system. His fastball was clocked at 97 mph as a senior at Bellflower High School in Bellflower, Calif., where he also competed on the track team. He ran the 100 and 200 meters as well as the 4x100 and 4x400 relays.
Known for his defensive prowess, Gose was drafted by Philadelphia in the second round in 2008, rejecting a scholarship offer to attend Arizona. Two years ago, Gose was ranked Toronto’s fifth-best prospect by MLB.com and last season he was ranked as the 39th best prospect by baseballamerica.com.
“It’s very difficult for a young player to think that they’ve had some success and have to come back, even though they may have been communicated with honestly and up front knowing he was going up there short term and come back,” Brown said. “We have to look at that as in the past and move on, he’s here right now, and he has to go out there and compete. He’s been communicated with what’s expected of him and I think he understands.”
With Saturday’s sellout for Star Wars Night, the Bisons had their first non-July 3 full house at Coca-Cola Field since Aug. 31, 2006 when they drew 18,025 for a 13-inning Fan Appreciation Night game against Rochester.
The last sellout in the ballpark was the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 11, 2012 but the last sellout for an actual game was all the way back on July 3, 2007. Combined with Friday’s crowd of 13,169, the Herd will draw 31,194 for two days. The Bisons drew 30,443 on Aug. 26-27, 2008.
In their four years with the New York Mets, the closest the Herd got to 30,000 in two days was when it drew 28,808 on July 2-3, 2010
Veteran shortstop Jose Reyes is feasting off minor league pitchers. On the disabled list since suffering an ankle injury on April 12 with the parent Blue Jays, Reyes is batting .375.
Reyes, who is rehabbing an ankle injury, started in Single-A Dunedin on Monday and hit .417 (5-for-13) in three games and went 1 for 4 with a double and the eventual winning run in Friday’s 3-2 win over Durham.
Jim Negrych has cooled during the Bisons’ homestand. The St. Francis product is batting .250 (4 for 16) with two RBIs in five games at home. For the season, Negrych is third in the International League behind Rochester’s Chris Colabello and Durham’s Vince Belnome at .335 while the Herd’s Luis Jimenez is fifth at .322.