Here’s hoping Jonny Gomes returns to his 2005 form. Yes, as a rookie, Gomes hit .282 with 21 home runs in just 348 at-bats. Then, he started 2006 by hitting a Rays-record 11 home runs in April. But it’s been pretty much downhill from there. Here are some fun and not-so-fun facts about Gomes, whose contract, which includes an invitation to Spring Training, is reported to be worth $600,000 with another $200,000 possible through incentives.
• He attributed most of his problems in 2006 to an injured shoulder, which hindered his hitting and his usually aggressive baserunning; he played through the injury until electing to have surgery on it in September. In addition to rehabilitating his shoulder, Gomes said in an MLB.com article that he wanted to lose weight over the offseason; he was listed at 205 pounds, but played the 2006 season weighing 250. (Source: Wikipedia)
• Along with our boy Joey Votto, Aaron Boone (twice) and 333 others, Gomes has hit three home runs in a game (July 30, 2005).
• He was a key player in two fairly memorable fights last season. During Spring Training on March 12, Gomes rushed to the defense of Akinori Iwamura, who was spiked by the Yankees’ Shelley Duncan. Gomes immediately rushed in from right field, flinging himself into Duncan as he was starting to stand up. Both teams’ benches emptied and Gomes was ejected, along with Duncan and two Yankees coaches. Gomes was suspended by MLB for two games, effective at the start of the season.
on June 5, Gomes was involved in a bench-clearing brawl against the Red Sox after Coco Crisp charged the mound. Replays of the incident showed Gomes throwing punches at Crisp as he was already being shoved to the ground by several other Rays players. Gomes was suspended for five games.
• Gomes suffered a heart attack on Christmas Eve, 2002, the result of a clogged artery, despite being in playing condition (he reported having 8% body fat at the time). He ignored the symptoms for 27 hours, even sleeping through it one night, before going to the hospital after he briefly blacked out and stopped breathing. His doctors said he would not have survived sleeping through it a second night. As a result of the heart attack, the team doctor of the Rays had to keep nitroglycerin pills on-hand in case he had another one. (Source: Wikipedia)
• Gomes holds the Tampa Bay Rays club record for most hit by pitches with 28.
• His older brother, Joey Gomes, currently plays for the Joliet Jackhammers of the non-affiliated Northern League. Their manager is former New York Met Wally Backman, who was definitely in the ’87 Topps set.
• He has the number 707 on his glove and cleats; the area code for his hometown, Petaluma, California.