It only seems like Moss has been a top Sox farmhand for six decades. But Moss, who has collected 500 or more at-bats in four straight seasons yet is still only 24, provided yet more evidence he's as ready to contribute to the Sox as he's ever going to be Tuesday, when he contributed with his bat as well as his glove to help the Sox beat the Athletics, 6-5, in Tokyo.
"I felt great, especially since it was my first home run," Moss told reporters afterward. "It felt great. That's something you dream of, hitting a game-tying home run in the ninth inning."
The homer off Huston Street came on a changeup, which was particularly impressive given how Street fooled Moss with a changeup earlier in the at-bat. "I was way out in front," Moss said. "Once I got back to 2-2, I thought ‘He's probably going to throw that changeup right here because I missed it two pitches ago.' I just tried to see it up and wait back a little longer."
Moss, who finished 2-for-5, also had an RBI single in the sixth inning that snapped a 2-2 tie. And in the 10th inning, he threw Emil Brown out at third base to preserve the 6-5 lead. That assist proved to be pivotal when the next two batters singled.
Not bad for someone who figured he was going to remain on the bench until moments before first pitch, when starter J.D. Drew was scratched due to a sore back. "It was right before [the game when he found out]—I didn't have much time to feel anything," Moss said. "I was like ‘OK, when do I run out?'"
Moss has long impressed the organization's decision-makers as well as his teammates—"Hey, he's a professional hitter, that's why he's here," Manny Ramirez told reporters, referring to Moss—but he may not be with the Sox when they resume the regular season April 1 in Oakland.
Presuming Drew avoids the disabled list and the Sox are unable to trade fourth outfielder Coco Crisp, there will be no room on the 25-man roster for Moss, who seems ready for full-time duty in the majors after leading the International League in both extra-base hits (59) and doubles (41) last season.
"If they have their mind made up [about sending him to Triple-A], I don't think one game is going to change it," Moss told The Providence Journal.
It certainly can't hurt.
More on Moss: According to research by David Vincent of the Society of American Baseball Research, Moss is the fifth player to hit his first major league homer outside the United States. Padres pitcher Joey Hamilton went deep for the first time in Mexico on Aug. 18, 1996 while the Expos' Ron Calloway (Apr. 16, 2003), the Mets' Eric Valent (Apr. 11, 2004) and the Braves' Charles Thomas (July 7, 2004) all hit their first homers in Puerto Rico while the Expos were playing home games there.
Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.
Moss Keeps Growing On The Sox
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