Detroit — Twenty-nine teams passed on the services of center fielder Anthony Gose after the Tigers designated him for assignment last week.
But there is still one team that has not given up on him. The Tigers, specifically general manager Al Avila, have not given up on him. The out-righted his contract to Triple A Toledo on Wednesday.
“Anthony Gose is a very talented young man and he’s only 26 years old,” Avila told a large audience at the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association’s annual luncheon Thursday. “The reason we are bringing him back to spring training is we feel like, at his age, he still has the ability to reach his potential.
“If he does, if he even comes close to that, we’re going to have a pretty good center fielder and a good asset to our team.”
Avila said Gose will be in the fight for what will likely be a platoon in center field with recently acquired Mikie Mahtook — who bumped Gose off the 40-man roster — Tyler Collins and JaCoby Jones.
Gose hit .254 in 140 games with the Tigers in 2015, but last year things unraveled quickly and he finished the season at Double A Erie. He hit .209 for the Tigers with a strikeout rate of 37.6 percent with the Tigers before being sent to Toledo.
He bottomed out at Toledo, hitting .185 with a 36.4 strikeout rate, and he was demoted after a dugout altercation with manager Lloyd McClendon, now the Tigers’ hitting coach. At Erie, he wound up hitting .224 with a 31.2 strikeout rate.
“Sometimes players beat themselves up so much that they’re their own worst enemy,” Avila said. “That happened to Gose. His tools are as good as anybody’s in the big leagues. He’s got the speed. He’s got a cannon for an arm. If he makes a mistake on a route in center field, he can outrun the mistake and still the catch the ball.”
What has to change, though, is the strikeout rate.
“He strikes out too many times,” Avila said. “We believe he tries to be a power hitter. He’s not a power hitter. He should be more of a contact hitter; more of a patient hitter. That’s what we are going to try and emphasize with him this year.
“He’s not a power hitter. He just needs to make contact and run like the wind. Hopefully he takes that to heart.”
Gose has rankled some in the Tigers’ organization the last two years by insisting on using his own hitting regimen, including his own private hitting coach, and not following the advice of the club’s hitting instructors.
Down to his last strike, with the last organization that believes in him, you would expect Gose will heed the Tigers’ instruction this spring.