FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jonny Gomes made it very clear Wednesday that he does not consider himself a platoon player. He considers himself an everyday major league outfielder, ready to contribute to another winner.
“Platooning isn’t a position,” Gomes began. “There’s not platooning in high school, there’s not platooning in 12-year-old all-stars. We’re baseball players. Baseball players, there’s two ‘L’s. There’s leather, lumber and you play every single day. Have I platooned in the past? Yeah, and it’s helped us win. I figure, if you succeed at platooning, you should have the opportunity to have more on your plate. If you succeed at a task, you should be able to have more on your plate.
“Am I putting my foot down, asking for more time? No, absolutely not. I do whatever helps the team. Last year, I platooned with a couple of guys, no one ran their mouth, no one did anything [disruptive] and that all leads to success and that all leads to winning. As soon as you have guys butting heads for playing time, it all starts to go downhill a little bit. I came into camp to play 162. It’s not my choice, I don’t make the lineup but when my name is call, count on that I’ll be ready.”
Gomes was signed to a two-year deal in the offseason for $10 million to help fill a void in left field. He is a .284 hitter with a .894 OPS against left-handed pitching. He is .223 and .732 against righties. He helped Oakland to a wild and crazy ride to the AL West title in 2012, something he reminded everyone Wednesday at JetBlue Park.
“What can I add? Hopefully, some right-handed sock,” Gomes said. “I’ve got some speed as well. Just continue to play the game right. I’m open to batting anywhere in the lineup so up, down, move around, protect some guys, help some guys touch the plate.
“Obviously, I’m a little biased to the chemistry [factor]. I have three division titles in the last five years with three different teams. Last year with Oakland, $41 million payroll in the AL West. You can’t really say we did it with a bunch of Ferraris. I wouldn’t recommend building that team again and running it out there but what does it all go to, what does it all go to?
Everyone looks back into the clubhouse, it’s got to be the clubhouse, it’s got to be everyone being friends. Again, I did it in 2010 with the Reds and 2008 with the Rays, and what does it all have in common? It’s different for everybody but once you get inside that clubhouse, you figure some things out, it really does all add up. I definitely biased to it. I haven’t done it once, I haven’t done it twice, I’ve done it three times in the last five years. Granted, I don’t have a ring but division titles are pretty hard to come by these days and hopefully get some more.”
One more thing, don’t ask Gomes about the 2012 Red Sox .
“I think what’s different about me and some of the guys that came in here, we weren’t miserable last year,” he said. “I wasn’t. Do I know what happened here last year? Absolutely. But I’m not going to let that bring me down. I wasn’t a part of it. I won a division title last year. We had a great year. I don’t know about [being] miserable and butting heads with everyone in the clubhouse. I can’t respond to that because I didn’t do it. I’m not going to change the person I am by any means. I’m just going to come in here and do what I do.
“I’ve played the game long enough, been in the game for a while. I’ve seen it work, I know it works. At the same time, I’ve seen this place rock and roll. I was against these guys in 2004 and 2007. I’ve seen Sox Nation, Fenway, Boston just being at the highest level it could possibly be. We’re not too far removed from that. There are still some core pieces in here that have rings, that have Red Sox [World Series ] rings. It’s not like were bringing the 70s or 80s [Red Sox teams] back. We don’t have to go too far back in the history books to find winning in a Red Sox uniform. These guys are still here.
“Time will tell, right?,” he said.