TORONTO — Just a few days after reaching a low point in triple-A, Anthony Gose is back in the big leagues on the Toronto Blue Jays’ roster. Gose said his recent on-field struggles caused him to question his approach and beat himself up mentally.
“I kind of hit a wall where I was like ‘what’s going on,'” Gose told a gathering of reporters. “The low was more mental than physical. I don’t think I did as bad physically as I made it out to be. But I wore myself out mentally so bad that I made everything to be extreme.”
After a strong start at the plate, Gose started struggling for the Buffalo Bisons.
“Everything was just going downhill for me,” he said. “It kept sliding away and sliding away and when you dig yourself into that hole mentally it’s tough to get out of it.”
The turning point came when Gose's father made a surprise visit to Indianapolis, where the Bisons recently played. Gose's father gave him some blunt advice -- "there were some explicit words" -- that helped him emerge from his struggles and perform better on the field.
"Seeing my dad just pretty much uplifted my spirits more than anything," Gose said.
The 22-year-old said he has moved past the low point and started producing again. He has six hits and five walks in his last seven games, bringing his season batting line to .227/.343/.325.
Gose will provide the Blue Jays with speed and defence late in games, but he isn't starting Monday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays and won't be a regular in the starting lineup for now.
"He can do a lot of things for you," manager John Gibbons said. "He'll steal you a base. Great baserunner. He's been here before."
Gibbons said there's no set plan for how long Gose will remain at the MLB level. The Blue Jays optioned Mickey Storey to Buffalo to make room for Gose on the active roster.
Now that he has been presented with the chance for a fresh start, Gose is confident he can compete at MLB level. Yet he admitted the call to Toronto surprised him.
"Wouldn't you be?" he asked, laughing. "Definitely surprised. I didn't even know what to think. They called me this morning, told me I was going up. I kept asking 'was it real.' I didn't know what was happening. But it's definitely good to be here."
Gose appeared in 56 games with last year's Blue Jays team, stealing 15 bases. He's now eagerly awaiting his first MLB appearance of the 2013 season.
"I can't even explain how excited I am. I'm happier than can be right now."
FRIDAY STARTER: The Blue Jays have yet to announced which pitcher will start Friday night's game against the Baltimore Orioles. Chad Jenkins remains a leading candidate to get the start, assuming he's not needed extensively out of the bullpen during the week.
"We're looking at Jenkins, but that could change too," Gibbons said. "We'll see where we're at."
Josh Johnson, who is scheduled to make a minor league rehabilitation start Monday night, isn't considered an option for Friday's start. The right-hander is on the disabled list with a triceps injury.
KNUCKLEBALLS ON THE MIND: Rays manager Joe Maddon doesn't expect that the Rays will have trouble adjusting on Tuesday after facing R.A. Dickey's knuckleballs in Monday's series opener.
"I don't really see why there should necessarily be a hangover unless you make that up in your mind that there is," Maddon said.
That said, Maddon does believe there's a psychological element to the success of knuckleball pitchers such as Dickey.
"There's no question," Maddon said. "I think part of his effectiveness is the fact that the hitters are concerned about facing a knuckleball pitcher. That's part of his success. It's rooted in that and the fact that he's got a good one."