Gomes Catches Jays' Attention
TORONTO—It would be easy to get lost in the shuffle in an organization laden with young talent. But 24-year-old catcher Yan Gomes made sure he won't be overlooked.
In 20 Grapefruit League games, Gomes batted .333/.333/.590 in 39 at-bats with one home run, seven doubles and 13 strikeouts. He spent time at first and third base, positions he played in college at Barry (Fla.).
Gomes first caught big league manager John Farrell's attention last season when he was playing behind top prospect Travis d'Arnaud at Double-A New Hampshire.
"A year ago, we'd get the game reports every night about what was going on in the system, and once (Gomes) found his way into the lineup at New Hampshire, he started driving the ball out of the ballpark," Farrell said.
"This is someone who does a very good job behind the plate, receiving the ball (and) blocking the ball, and his offensive numbers have shown that he can swing the bat. He has made a very good impression in camp."
A native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, who moved to Miami when he was 12, Gomes batted .250/.309/.471 in 79 games for New Hampshire last year. He also played four games for Triple-A Las Vegas, where he joins d'Arnaud this year.
The Blue Jays drafted Gomes, who transferred to Barry after two years at Tennessee, in the 10th round in 2009. Ahead of him by two years when he joined the Vols was J.P. Arencibia, who is entering his second season as the catcher in Toronto.
"It definitely was tough trying to play behind him," Gomes said. "But the guy is a heck of a player. He's really good, so it's kind of fun to watch him play. Getting to come in every other day or so helped me learn a lot. You just always have to be ready.
"It's easy to say you're not ready to play when you're not playing a lot. But with me it's always been either be ready or I might get overlooked again. Every day you just have to be ready to come out and play."
• Lefthander Brett Cecil, the club's forecasted No. 3 starter in the big leagues, was demoted to New Hampshire at the end of spring training.
• Two-time organization No. 1 prospect Travis Snider also will open the year in the minors. Eric Thames won the left fielder job, so Snider will open with Las Vegas.