Michael Goss has a million-dollar smile and a contagious laugh, but his Augusta GreenJackets teammates haven't seen or heard much of either lately.
The speedy center fielder has spent much of the season with a batting average below .200. He relinquished his spot as the Jackets' leadoff hitter. His confidence was shaken.
Goss was smiling again Wednesday afternoon, going 2-for-5 with a double and one RBI in the Jackets' 4-3 loss to the Asheville Tourists in 10 innings before a matinee crowd of thousands of area children.
"You fall in a hole, and you've got to remember to try and take it one day at a time," said Goss, whose RBI double with two outs in the ninth tied the game at 3 and sent it to extra innings. "I'm always having fun with the guys off the field, in the clubhouse. That didn't change. But I wasn't having much fun on the field. Now, I'm starting to have a little fun again."
After tearing up the short-season New York-Penn League last season in his pro debut, when he batted .398 in 21 games for Lowell, Goss has scuffled with the Jackets.
Goss hit .177 in April, and his average was down to .152 after an 0-for-23 slump through April 7. He was moved out of the leadoff spot down to the No. 9 hole, and his numbers have gradually improved.
The 2002 11th-round draft pick has six hits in 16 at-bats and is 16-for-45 in 15 games, bringing his average back to .212.
After batting ninth in his past 14 games, Goss batted second for the first time this season Wednesday.
Manager Russ Morman says the ultimate goal is to develop Goss as a leadoff hitter and utilize his speed, which is considered the best in the Red Sox organization.
"Better at-bats translates into having more fun," Morman said. "It's all a product of the hard work. He comes in every day and does extra work to get better."
NOTES: The Jackets made several roster moves Wednesday. Pitcher Parker Friske, who was 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in 14 relief appearances, was released. Reliever Brandon Smith (0-4, 8.38) was demoted to short-A Lowell. Reliever Angus Roy, who was shuffled off the roster Tuesday and transferred to Lowell, was reactivated. Pitcher Luis Mendoza, who also was jettisoned to Lowell, was also reassigned to the Jackets.
Tourists 4, Jackets 3, 10 innings
TURNING POINT: The Tourists took the lead in the 10th in an RBI double by Jason Frome.
BIG BAT: Frome went 3-for-5 with two doubles.
TOP GUN: Asheville starter Ben Crockett held the Jackets to one run on five hits with five strikeouts in seven innings.
FOR THE RECORD: WP-Beau Dannemiller (3-0). LP-Tommy MacLane (1-1). Save-Chris Young (2).
TODAY'S GAME: Game 3 of 4-Jackets vs. Tourists, 7:15 p.m., Lake Olmstead Stadium
PROBABLE STARTERS: Asheville-RHP Doug Johnson (4-4, 5.47); Augusta-LHP Luis Villareal (4-3, 4.62)
Reach Rob Mueller at (706) 823-3425.
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