Jonny Gomes shows how to play left at Fenway, offers Red Sox hope: 'You would think it's going to turn around'

Mike Petraglia
June 16, 2015 - 4:17 am
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If Hanley Ramirez wanted help in how to play left field at Fenway, perhaps he should chat up Jonny Gomes. The Braves left fielder not only robbed former teammate Dustin Pedroia of a sure double to open the bottom of the fourth Monday night, he explained the intricacies of the position after Atlanta walked away with a 4-2 win at a rain-soaked Fenway Park. "That's how you've got to play that outfield. It's extremely risky," Gomes said. "That exact play right there, you dive for it and get the out. Worst-case scenario, you dive for it and you've got the wall right there so it could be a double. Or take the angle and give him the double. So it worked out." Because Gomes was playing in and because he certainly wasn't afraid to lay out on the wet grass, he was able to time his dive for the ball. "I actually found myself diving a bunch here because a normal fence is about 340 feet down the line, play about 60 feet in front puts you at about 280," Gomes said. "But 310 here, 40 feet in front, you're playing at about 270 feet, which a lot of people don't realize when that ball gets on you hot, it's kind of like that one. You're diving all over the place." Gomes certainly feels for former teammates like Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Xander Bogaerts and Mike Napoli, suffering through a miserable 27-38 season so far. "Losing sucks flat out, at any level, any organization," Gomes said. "I've played on some good teams, some bad teams. I've been there before. It's not ideal but play this game long enough, you're going to have stretches like that. "You look at that team on paper, it's a dangerous team. You would think it's going to get turned around. I'd roll my dice with that roster. With that being said, I don't wear that uniform anymore. Outside of 'hang in there,' I don't have much input. I'm focused on the Braves." Gomes and A.J. Pierzynski both took the high road Monday night, choosing not to stomp on the organization when they're down. Pierzynski joked about being the fall guy in 2014 but insisted there's no hard feelings while Gomes made a point of bugging his manager Fredi Gonzalez about playing in these two games back in Boston. "Those guys, they've always talked very highly of this place," Gonzalez said. "They loved playing here and they love the atmosphere. I'll tell you what, Jonny Gomes has been pumped up the whole year, since spring training started, for him to play these two games. There was no way in hell he was not going to let me play him in these two games. He goes out and makes a tremendous catch in left. "A.J. has fond memories here. I know he didn't finish the way he wanted to finish here but he always had good things to say about this place." While Pierzynski received some boos, Red Sox fans gave Gomes a standing ovation each time he stepped up to the plate. "Aw yeah, that's awesome. I've been in a couple of organizations and it's always that was cool, when an opposing player comes back and you get the standing ovation," Gomes said of his cheers. "It's pretty cool that the fans appreciate, and obviously these are pretty knowledgeable fans and appreciate the way you play the game."
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