Gomes Gets Call Up For Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — After spending back-to-back seasons in Double-A with the Padres, righthander Brandon Gomes moved into fast-forward after a trade to the Rays.

First big league spring training. First taste of Triple-A. First callup to the majors. And the balls from his first out and first inning.

The 26-year-old made a solid impression on the Rays staff in spring training, and it paid off when he got off to a hot start at Triple-A Durham (22 strikeouts and two runs in 13 innings) and the big league team needed help in middle relief.

"I have a lot of confidence in this guy," manager Joe Maddon said. "I liked him a lot in spring training and he's got off to a good start. I know his experience is limited with mostly Double-A and a little bit of Triple-A, but I think he's kind of a tough guy and I think he's going to be OK."

They found out he was even better than that when he pitched two scoreless innings in his May 3 debut, keeping the Rays in a one-run game until B.J. Upton hit a walkoff homer.

"I love his attitude, in a positive way," Maddon said. "He was not affected. He looked the same tonight as I saw during camp."

Gomes has battled each step of his career, overcoming Tommy John surgery that cost him his sophomore year at Tulane to be a four-year letterman. He was a 17th-round pick in 2007 but made himself a prospect in the Padres system, getting included in the deal that sent shortstop Jason Bartlett to the Padres.

"It's amazing how quick stuff turns around," Gomes said. "I was in Double-A all year last year and just like that in the big leagues."

The Rays' return on the deal looked pretty good so far, as Gomes joined the two other relievers, Cesar Ramos and Adam Russell, in the Tampa Bay bullpen.


• Outfielder Brandon Guyer became the second of the five players acquired from the Cubs in the Matt Garza trade to play in Tampa Bay, called up when righthander Jeff Niemann went on the DL.

• Veteran infielder Felipe Lopez was supposed to start the season in Durham, but he was about a month late. He was summoned to the big leagues when third baseman Evan Longoria was hurt in the second game of the season. When Longoria returned, Lopez was designated for assignment, cleared waivers and accepted his assignment to Durham.