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Moss' time in Bucs' Minors sparked power

Adjustments made in 2010 with Triple-A Indianapolis help outfielder find success

PITTSBURGH -- Indians outfielder Brandon Moss didn't have feelings of vengeance as he trotted around the bases at PNC Park.

Moss spent 195 games with the Pirates from 2008 to 2010 before being designated for assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis. But it turns out that his demotion directly influenced his ability to belt his two-run home run on Friday night.

The now-31-year-old left-handed power threat wasn't dangerous back then. That changed when he worked with Jeff Branson -- Indianapolis' former hitting coach who currently holds the same position with the Pirates.

"I struggled a lot here," Moss said. "I couldn't find any consistency. I didn't hit with any power. I just had some conflicting approaches that didn't suit the type of player I was."

It showed in his numbers alone. Moss had just 13 home runs in 569 at-bats with the Pirates, and his slugging percentage in that span was .373.

When asked if Friday night's home run reminded him of his time at PNC Park, Moss replied candidly.

"Not really. I didn't do that very much here," Moss said.

Since his time in Pittsburgh, Moss has found success. He spent three career-reviving years in Oakland from 2012 to 2014, a period in which he hit 76 home runs and toted a .504 slugging percentage.

But that stretch was jump-started by spending 2010 with Branson and Indianapolis.

Moss said he was trying to hit the ball the other way and do the little things at the plate while with the Pirates. In Indianapolis, he opened his stance back up and worked on driving and pulling pitches instead.

The work with Branson parlayed into 22 home runs and 96 RBIs at the Triple-A level in 2010.

"It kind of took off from there," Moss said.

After his time in Oakland, Moss joined the Indians this year, and -- after Friday night -- he has 14 home runs with his new club.

More importantly, Moss' swing and approach fit the hitter he's accustomed to being. That's what Cleveland manager Terry Francona likes to see.

"We don't want him to be a slap hitter," Francona said. "He's here to hit the ball out of the ballpark, and he knows that."

And thanks to an initially stagnant and later progressive stint in the Pirates' organization, Moss is comfortable filling that role for the Indians.

John McGonigal is an associate reporter for
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