Phil Gosselin got his first major league action in the 10th inning against the Nationals Friday night as a defensive replacement at second base, and took all of three pitches to get his first ground ball.
“Did anybody think that the first ball hit in the 10th wasn’t going to go to Gosselin?” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Ryan Zimmerman grounded a ball up the middle which ticked ever so slightly off left-hander Scott Downs’ glove toward Gosselin. He fielded and threw to first, and he did so gratefully.
“I swear the ball always come to you the first play,” Gosselin said. “I was happy. I wanted to get that first one under my belt. Relax from there.”
Gosselin had learned about 12 hours earlier he was getting his first major-league call-up. He was promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett to replace Tyler Pastornicky, who is headed for season-ending knee surgery on a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Gonzalez used Gosselin just as he’d said he would before the game, as a defensive replacement if he wanted to pinch hit late for Paul Janish.
Gosselin showed the steady hand on defense that Gonzalez had heard about. He turned a double play on a grounder from Jayson Werth to end the 10th, and the Braves walked off 3-2 on a Justin Upton homer shortly thereafter.
“It was awesome, especially when we made that third out, I could hear the place erupt,” Gosselin said. “It was pretty cool. I got chills a little bit out there. I was definitely a little nervous when it started but I felt good by the end.”
Playing alongside a familiar face in shortstop Andrelton Simmons made it easy on him too.
“Me and Sim were joking,” Gosselin said. “We felt like we were back in Lynchburg because we played together all year there and then a little bit in Mississippi last year. It’s nice to have somebody up the middle that I played so many games with. It definitely helps being comfortable with him.”