Another Setback as Lakewood's Moss Lands on DL

You have to feel for a guy like Tim Moss. The Phillies highest draft pick just one year ago has had one setback after another since turning pro. First, a tough debut season as he adjusted to the rigors of pro ball, then lost time this spring when it was discovered that he has high blood pressure. Now, after a relatively slow start to the season, Moss finds himself on the DL with a hip injury. You have to wonder; what's next?

Tim Moss still has a bright future ahead of him. You can roll out all of the cliches about adversity building character and the old "whatever doesn't kill us just serves to make us stronger." Still, at some point, a guy starts to wonder if he's jinxed or something.

There is a lot of talent in Tim Moss. The Phillies didn't miss on this kid and there is no reason to believe that he won't still become exactly the kind of player that they thought he would be. The only change to the plan might be the speed that he moves through the organization.

In his inaugural season, Moss hit just .150 at Batavia. The rigors of professional baseball and the adjustment to wood bats can throw a lot of players off. Moss was definitely thrown off. Still, the Phillies were unfazed by the weak season and figured on moving Moss to Lakewood for the 2004 season. Moss made it to Lakewood, but with an agonizing detour. Just after his 22nd birthday, Moss was diagnosed with high blood pressure. The tests were bad enough that the Phillies sat Moss on the sidelines and barred him from participating in any team drills or activities.

Moss spent time sitting, watching and waiting as team trainers and physicians dealt with the health threat. The time couldn't have been easy for Moss as he wondered if he would be ready to start the regular season with the BlueClaws or if he would be banished to extended spring training. Just as time was winding down to a crucial point, Moss got test results good enough to allow him to join in with his teammates and hit the field for a full season at Lakewood.

Again, Moss started slow. The Phillies, to their credit, kept in mind that technically, Moss was in his spring training since he missed time with the blood pressure issue. Moss' season started with a 2-30 (.067) slump through the first ten days of the season. Then, after riding the bench for a day, Moss returned to go 6-13 (.462), pushing his average to .186 on the season. By the early days of May, Moss reached a season-high .213 average and appeared to be on the road to success.

In a game against Hickory last week, Moss suffered a hip flexor injury and left the game with Hickory as the BlueClaws were launching a 15 hit attack on their way to a 9-7 win. The next day, Moss had run into his latest roadblock and was placed on the DL.

While it's aggravating for fans to watch the Phillies highest pick from last years draft go through what is seemingly one setback after another, it can't compare to the frustration building in Moss himself. The key though is that Moss truly does seem to be gaining more confidence at the plate and seems to be headed toward the kind of numbers that the Phillies had hoped he would produce in the early stages of his career. Moss' potential is great and while it remains to be seen how he'll pick up after his latest setback, it may be that all he has lost is some time. He hasn't fallen on the Phillies radar and he hasn't suddenly been sapped of his speed or skills that the Phillies saw when they took him in the third round of the draft. Instead, Moss will simply develop at a slower pace. Other key 2003 picks Javon Moran and Michael Bourn are putting up fairly impressive numbers for Lakewood and the Phillies hoped to keep the trio together as they headed up the minor league ladder. Moss may simply need a bit more time at the lower levels before he plays catch up and starts to climb along with Moran and Bourn.

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