On the verge of watching a promising rally slip away, Anthony Gose took matters into his own legs and charged up the triple-A Buffalo Bisons with a straight steal of home.
The gutsy-if-it-works, dumb-if-it-doesn’t play from the blue-chip Toronto Blue Jays outfield prospect came in the first inning of 6-4 win over the Norfolk Tides on Tuesday night.
Gose reached to open the frame on Luis Exposito’s catcher’s interference and advanced to third on a hit-and-run single by Jim Negrych, but the inning stalled when Moises Sierra hit a line drive at first baseman Travis Ishikawa, who easily doubled off Negrych at first.
Slugger Luis Jimenez was at the plate when Gose noticed that Jake Arrieta was back in the full windup, peaked into the home dugout at manager Marty Brown and decided to make his move on the first pitch.
“Marty gave me the OK,” Gose told Buffalo media. “I knew he took a little bit longer, I’d seen him last year in the big-leagues, I knew he had a little bit longer of a windup, he looked down, I’d seen that, so I figured if I got a good enough jump with the third baseman playing off because Jimmy’s batting, I could maybe take a chance and get in there.”
It played out exactly as Gose expected, as he was nearly halfway home when Arrieta had just started his motion, and swiped at the plate just as Ball 1 high was arriving at Exposito’s glove.
“There’s a little extra pressure because if you’re out with the best hitter in (minor-league) baseball right now, him and Negrych, it doesn’t look too good on your part,” said Gose. “It’s not the smartest play but it worked out, got us going, got some momentum our way, and kind of made some things happen.”
The steal of home isn’t a first for Gose, as he took second, third and home after a one out-walk in the eighth inning of a spring training game against the Boston Red Sox on March 29, 2012.
In that one he brazenly bolted for home when catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia lazily lobbed the ball back to left-hander Justin Thomas on the mound, sliding in easily with the go-ahead run in a 3-2 win.
The news from the Blue Jays farm system isn’t all good, as top prospects Roberto Osuna and Santiago Nessy were both recently placed on the disabled list.
Osuna, the 18-year-old right-hander at single-A Lansing, complained of tenderness in his right elbow after his April 30 start when he allowed four runs, three earned, in four innings, and has been shut down for a month after being examined by doctors.
Teammate Santiago Nessy, meanwhile, is back in Florida after the catcher left an April 24 with a concussion suffered in a collision at second base. He’s already begun work for a return to the lineup.
Here are some notes from elsewhere in the system.
Buffalo Bisons (AAA)
The Bisons bullpen was bolstered by the recent additions of Chad Beck from double-A New Hampshire and Jeremy Jeffress from single-A Dunedin.
Beck struck out 25 batters in 15.2 innings over 12 games with six saves for the Fisher Cats. Jeffress, who began the season with the Blue Jays, has thrown 2.2 scoreless innings in two appearances.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA)
Left-hander Sean Nolin returned from the disabled list Tuesday night and allowed three runs, two earned, over 3.1 innings in an 8-5 loss to New Britain. A groin problem at the end of spring training kept him sidelined.
Chad Jenkins (shoulder) was activated from the DL on Monday, and allowed two runs over five innings in an 11-6 win over the Rock Cats.
Dunedin Blue Jays (A)
Catching prospect A.J. Jimenez, who underwent Tommy John surgery last year while with New Hampshire, returned to action for Dunedin on May 2. In his first five games, he’s 6-for-16 with a homer, double and five RBIs.
Top pitching prospect Aaron Sanchez threw 5.1 shutout innings Tuesday in a 3-1 win over Bradenton, allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out six.