NEW YORK -- Is former Red Sox outfielder Josh-Reddick trying to outbeard Jonny Gomes?
“He doesn’t have a chance,’’ Gomes said. “No chance.’’
And just what future does Gomes envision for his beard? “I don’t know,'' he said. "I’m day to day. I’ve had long hair, short hair, I’ve had Mohawks ... I can’t promise anything with facial hair. All day to day.''
Gomes, who came to Boston proclaiming his ability to play left field on a daily basis, said manager John Farrell spoke to him about serving as DH while David Ortiz is out, with rookie Jackie Bradley Jr., a vastly superior defensive player, starting in left. If you thought Gomes took the news hard, you don't know Jonny Gomes.
"Like I told [Farrell], where I feel most comfortable is anywhere one to nine, you know?'' he said. "Anywhere between left, right and DH is where I’m happiest.''
Gomes has started as a DH in 323 games in his career, mostly with the Tampa Bay Rays, compared to 420 outfield starts in the outfield. He has a career .756 OPS as a DH, with 48 home runs in 1,037 at-bats, compared to a .794 OPS as a left-fielder, with 52 home runs in 1,209 at-bats.
"It is a whole different position -- no one makes it to the big leagues DHing,'' Gomes said, repeating a line he has used many times.
"That being said, people are jumping on that it is kind of hard. Unfortunately, people jumped on Adam Dunn’' struggles (in 2011). It’s tough. I’ve done it. I’m going to do it. I think the easiest way to do it is being willing to do it. Some guys who came up in National League just can’t do it, but I’m willing to do it.
The Red Sox were 46-44 when Ortiz played last season, 23-49 when he did not. How big a void does he leave?
“As of right now, it’s not a big void, because we’re 0-0,'' Gomes said, "We’re getting 30 home runs coming pretty soon. That's a nice little safety net for the team to have that other teams don’t have.''
Gomes is convinced Ortiz will be back sooner than later.
"Absolutely,'' he said. "Talk about motivation, it’s him. This guy is chasing records. He wants to come back. I’ve seen some drives to win, but some of the biggest drives to win are these vets getting ready to hang 'em up. How many years does he have left? I don’t know. But his day is coming. What better way than to go out on top?''