Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Gomes returns a Red Sox
Posted Feb 25, 2013 by Roger Mooney
Updated Feb 25, 2013 at 12:51 PM
PORT CHARLOTTE Jonny Gomes a Red Sox? Who’d of thunk it?
Gomes, arguably the most popular player in Devil Rays/Rays history, will play today for a Boston split-squad team against the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. He’ll play left field and bat cleanup.
“Yeah, just for the Red Sox,” he said, “no big deal.”
Gomes signed a two-year deal with the Red Sox in the offseason that pays him $5 million in 2013 and 2014.
Seeing Gomes in the blue and red of the Red Sox is a bit startling, given the history between the Tampa Bay and Boston that boiled over several times during Gomes’s tenure with the Rays.
When asked about how he felt the first time he put on a Red Sox uniform, Gomes said: “I’m a huge fan of the game. I wouldn’t call myself a historian, but I obviously pay attention. Coming up in the AL East, at that time, ’04, the Red Sox were the cream of the crop. It’s pretty cool. It’s different with the Red Sox as a player. There’s so much accountability the Red Sox have with who they bring in, obviously with the fan base and everything like that. Player-wise it’s a pretty big honor.”
Gomes left the Rays after the 2008 season. He’s since played for Cincinnati, Washington and Oakland. He’s won division titles with the ’08 Rays, ’10 Reds and ’12 A’s.
“That’s three division titles in five years with three different teams,” he said.
Not bad, someone mentioned while Gomes met this morning with the media.
“You can argue that,” he said. “It ain’t me, trust me.”
When asked if he will always think of himself as a Ray, Gomes said: “Everywhere I’ve gone it’s amazing the relationships you build with players when you win.”
When asked if he was surprised the Rays have continued to win after the ’08 season, Gomes said yes because two key elements for the success remains in place – manager Joe Maddon and executive vice president of baseball Andrew Friedman.
“You never want to lose a player, but you always want to add, and that’s what Tampa does,” he said. “They just continue to add. James Shields gone. (Four) players in.”
Gomes said he hasn’t given much thought to returning to the AL East, since everywhere he goes these days he seems to be playing against a former team. When told he has yet to play in the AL Central and the NL West, he said, “But I’ve homered in those places.”