Jonny Gomes tells ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick that he plans to play in 2017. He said, “I’ve got some more pull homers in the tank.”
To be charitable, he certainly conserved those pull homers over the past couple of years, so maybe he does a have a few left. It works like that, right? I assume so. With Christmas fast approaching I’m far too busy to check, but we’ll go with it for now.
Gomes, who is 36, last appeared in the majors in 2015 while batting .213/.313/.347 with seven homers, 26 RBI and a good half dozen stories about his leadership and clubhouse presence in 262 plate appearances between the Braves and Royals. Last year he really conserved those pull homers, hitting only one, while playing only 18 games with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Pacific League before the parties agreed to part ways.
Whether any team rewards Gomes’ prudent refusal to waste the finite number of home runs he was allocated years ago with a contract is unclear, but it will be a minor league one if a deal does, indeed, come to pass. The minor leaguers with whom he’ll play a lot of late inning spring training games had best be prepared to be led like they’ve never been led before.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.