TORONTO - Experiencing the most difficult month of his pro baseball career, Anthony Gose was stunned to learn he'd been recalled by the Blue Jays.
"Wouldn't you be?" said Gose. "Definitely surprised. I didn't even know what to think. They called me this morning, told me I was going up. I kept asking them whether it was real. I didn't know what was happening. But it's definitely good to be here, something new, fresh start."
It was a whirlwind day for the outfielder, who was whisked to a car for the drive from Buffalo to Toronto this morning. He arrived in time to take batting practice.
In 40 games with Triple-A Buffalo, Gose was hitting .227. His on-base percentage was a respectable .343. The monthly splits, though, tell a different story.
Gose had a strong April; his .373 OBP reflective of his taking 14 walks.
May has been a different story; Gose's OBP has plummeted to .309 for the month. Numbers aside, Gose's struggle has been to control the game going on in his head.
"The first month was unbelievable for me," said Gose. "I felt probably as good as I could have. The last three weeks, the last two days have been better for me, starting to get back on track, the early part of the month was rough for me, definitely. Definitely mentally, definitely rough.
"That was the first time I'd been through something like that," Gose continued. "I'd struggled up here, I'd struggled early on every year in April and then for me to go out and feel like I had a good month like things were on the up and then to hit a wall, for things to snowball, it kind of took a toll on me mentally."
As is often the case when a player goes through a prolonged slump, Gose began receiving advice from more than a few well-meaning supporters. Among them: Bisons' manager Marty Brown.
Brown's message was clear.
"I can't say that on camera," said Gose, when asked what Brown said to him. "There was some explicit words. Basically just pull your head and keep going. Just stay positive and keep working. Trust in what you're doing and what you've been doing and turn the page."
But it was a surprise visit by Gose's father, Steve, which helped to put the young player's trials into perspective.
"Seeing my Dad was probably the best thing for me," he said.
Upon arriving in Toronto on Monday morning, Gose had a brief chat with manager John Gibbons but hadn't yet spoken to general manager Alex Anthopoulos.
Right-hander Mickey Storey was optioned to Buffalo to make room for Gose. The Blue Jays had been carrying 13 pitchers
Gose's role, for the moment, appears to be that of late-game defensive replacement or pinch hitter/pinch runner.
Melky Cabrera has been dealing with irritation in both legs, which has affected his range in left field. Gose will help there.
The 22-year-old is happy to be back in the big leagues, regardless of how he's used or for how long it will be.
"I can't explain how excited I am," said Gose. "I'm happier than can be right now."