"Early in the season I was still a little down," Moss reported. "I had a bad spring training and had a bad year last year. I had a lot of things I needed to work on and needed to get my confidence back. I started off pretty slow at Indianapolis and couldn't really get anything going. My hitting coach in Indy Jeff Branson came to me and had some video of me in Double A with the Red Sox and it was with an extremely open stance the way I used to hit when I was coming up through their system.
"He asked me why I didn't do it anymore and I told him that when I came up to the big leagues with the Red Sox in 2008 they asked me to square up a little bit more because I wasn't playing very often. They wanted to eliminate any timing issues I might have. So I squared up and never really went back to an open stance. We were looking at the tape and things were going so bad. He said things can't get much worse so why don't you try it. I opened it up and from that day forward things started to turn around. I had real good stretch in June and I had a small slump in June and then July went really well. It's just one of those things where I'm very comfortable hitting that way and didn't even realize that it had taken some much of my leverage and so much of my power away. Once I opened back up and started getting that drive back into the ball I realized just how much I was missing."
Moss came to the Pirates as a key part of the Jason Bay trade on July 31, 2008. He wound up hitting .222 in Pittsburgh with six home runs and 23 RBI. In the off season he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He spent the full season with the Pirates in 2009 and batted a disappointing .236 with 7 home runs and 41 RBI.
"I struggled a lot in my first full year and my confidence took a big hit," Moss said. "Coming down to Triple A was definitely a blessing in disguise."
Moss had a horrible spring training hitting .171 with no home runs and three RBI. Moss, somewhat unexpectedly, was able to clear waivers, enabling Pittsburgh to outright the outfielder to Triple-A Indianapolis. The Pirates designated Moss for assignment on March 29.
"It was a rough year," Moss admitted. "You kind of have to put things in perspective. Yeah, I was struggling and wasn't very happy, but I had my little son on the way and have enjoyed my wife having the baby during the off season. You just have to try and keep things in perspective. The knee didn't hurt last year, but I didn't have the strength I wanted to have and I wasn't able to workout the way I like to. It took time and it was just bad timing."
Moss was given a shot a being a regular by the Pirates and could not take advantage of the situation.
"The only thing that is tough about having a year like 2009," Moss stated. "Especially when it's your first full year, people tend to label you. That's what type of player you are, you have no track record, you have nothing to back you up, that says that's not the type of player I am and you get labeled and you have to deal with that. I'm really looking forward to another opportunity because I know that I'm a better player than I was last year."
Pirates GM Neal Huntington has followed Moss' progress at Triple A. Unfortunately for Moss, there just isn't room for him on the big league squad. "He's done everything he can do to deserve an opportunity up here," Huntington said. "He's in our minds as we think of things going forward." The Pirates are treating Moss as if he's a prospect and not a guy that has 646 at-bats of major league experience. "You want to continue his growth and development instead of just sitting him on the bench," Huntington said.
Moss is hoping that he is not the forgotten man in the Pirates organization.
"I haven't heard anything," Moss explained. "I haven't heard that I would be getting another opportunity. That is completely up to the Pirates, they don't have to do anything, I'm not on the roster. I would like another opportunity and I hope if I do get one that I do get a real opportunity. I have to be confident that Neal Huntington traded for me for a reason, because he believed in me. Hopefully that one bad year wasn't enough to completely deter him. The ball is in their court. All I can do is go out and play and do the best I can."