Braves' Gosselin Getting Experience At Second





ATLANTA—Phil Gosselin is learning second base on the fly in his first taste of professional baseball, but the early returns on all aspects of his game are nothing less than impressive.

"That kid is a ballplayer," Rome manager Randy Ingle said. "He's tough as nails, he works hard, and he plays this game the way it's supposed to be played. The Braves got a steal when they took him in the fifth round."

Undrafted out of high school, Gosselin, 21, spent three years at Virginia and emerged as an offensive catalyst during his junior season for a Cavalier club that was ranked first in the nation for most of the campaign. He paced the team with 22 doubles and 11 home runs while ranking second with a .382 average and 61 RBIs. He also displayed defensive versatility by seeing time in both the outfield and at second base.

The Braves liked Gosselin's athleticism and plus bat speed, which attracted national attention as a sophomore when he hit a home run off Stephen Strasburg in the NCAA tournament.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Gosselin joined low Class A Rome in late June and was inserted as the team's starting second baseman and leadoff hitter. Through his first 173 at-bats, he was hitting .318/.387/.434 with eight doubles, three triples and two home runs. More impressively, he has proven to be a quick study at the keystone sack while spending many afternoons working with Ingle and roving infield instructor Jonathan Schuerholz on the nuances of playing the position.

"Playing second base every day is a first for me," Gosselin said. "At second I'm right in the thick of things throughout the game. You have to be locked in on every pitch. It's good, because you're really into the flow of things. Randy and Jonathan understand there's a learning curve with me, and they've been very patient, which I appreciate."

Wigwam Wisps

• Lefthander Mike Minor made his major league debut on Aug. 9, just less than a year after he signed as the seventh overall pick out of Vanderbilt. At the time of his debut, Minor ranked fifth in the minors with 146 strikeouts in 120 innings and had limited opposing batters to a .217 average.

• First baseman Freddie Freeman could make his major league debut when rosters are expanded in September. After experiencing an early season slump that coincided with two minor injuries, Freeman has raked at Triple-A Gwinnett. Through early August, he led the organization with 15 home runs and 71 RBIs and ranked third with a .306 average.