Gomes knows he 'can't butt heads with the Monster'

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Gomes knows he 'can't butt heads with the Monster'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Jonny Gomes reported to camp Wednesday morning, ahead of Fridays first official workout for position players. Gomes joined the Red Sox in November as a free agent, agreeing to a two-year, 10 million contract to play left field.

He appeared in 99 games for the As last season, batting .262, helping Oakland to the American League West title. Gomes played just 39 games, with 25 starts in left, in 2012. Throughout his eight-season career, during which hes also played for the Rays, Reds, and Nationals, Gomes has played 327 (292 starts) games in left and 145 (130 starts) in right. He knows Fenway Parks left field presents unique challenges.

Its the only left field like that in the game, Gomes said. Ive played it before. It doesnt worry me by any means. Just got to accept it. Cant butt heads with the Monster. Itll be an adventure but Im definitely excited.

Gomes, a career .244 hitter, with a .790 OPS, believes he has other tools to offer the Sox.

Hopefully some right-handed sock, he said. I got some speed as well. Just continue to play the game right. Im open to batting anywhere in the lineup, up, down, move around, protect some guys. Just help the rest of the guys touch the plate.

But Gomes, who turned 32 in November, was brought in as much for his on-field abilities as he was for his clubhouse abilities. The Sox hope he can be one of the new players to help change the sour atmosphere that has permeated the clubhouse since the Sox disastrous end to the 2011 season.

Im kind of biased to that situation, Gomes said. Quote-unquote clubhouse guy, quote-unquote leader. You dont get that with one year in the big leagues. You dont get that with two years in the big leagues. You dont earn that role and then that role disappears and then it might come back somewhere else. Its a hard role to earn. Its a hard role to bounce around and at the same time earn and demand respect inside the clubhouse. But I think its fairly easy to tell you the truth because I think theres one way to play the game and I think theres one way to respect the game. I dont think thats very negotiable. You do that correctly and you do that right and you do that on an everyday basis, I think it stands out.

Gomes, who finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2005, has been on three small-market teams that have gone to the postseason over the last five years the 2008 Rays, the 2010 Reds, and last season with the As.

What does it all have in common? Gomes asked. I think thats different for everybody but once you get inside that clubhouse and really figure some things out, it really does all add up.

Gomes was aware of the dysfunction that surrounded the Sox last season. But hes not concerned with it.

I think whats different about me and some of the guys that came in here, we werent miserable last year, he said. I wasnt. Do I know what happened here last year? Absolutely. But Im not going to let that bring me down. I wasnt a part of it. I won a division title last year. We had a great year. So I dont know about all the miserable and butting heads with everybody in the clubhouse. So I cant really respond to that because I didnt do it. But Im not going to change the person I am by any means. I just come in here and do what I do.

Ive seen this place rock and roll. I was against these guys in 2004, 2007. Ive seen Sox nation, Fenway, Boston, just be at the highest level it could possibly be. Were not too far removed from that now. Theres still some core pieces in here that have rings, have red sox rings. Its not like were bringing the old 70s back, the guys who won in the 80s to throw out the first pitch. These guys are still in uni and obviously starting with the manager. We dont got to go too far back to define winning in a red sox uniform.

Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Twins

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Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Twins

Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins . . .

1) David Price isn’t having fun

Boston’s $217 million-dollar arm had another rough outing -- this time against a team that already has 60 losses.

Those are the team’s he’s supposed to dominate.

“It’s been terrible,” Price said on how his season has gone following the loss. “Just awful.”

Price’s mistakes have often been credited to mechanical mishaps this year. Farrell mentioned that following his start in New York, Price spent time working on getting more of a downhill trajectory on his pitches.

But Price doesn’t think his issue is physical.

So it must be mental -- but he doesn’t feel that’s the case either.

“Honestly I don’t think it’s either one of those,” Price said when asked which he thought was a factor. “It’s me going out there and making pitches. “

But when it comes down to the barebones, pitching -- much like anything else -- is a physical and mental act.

So when he says it’s neither, that’s almost impossible. It could be both, but it has to be one.

His mind could be racing out on the mound from a manifestation of the issues he’s had throughout the season.

Or it could just be that his fastball isn’t changing planes consistently, like Farrell mentioned.

Both could be possible too, but it takes a certain type of physical approach and mental approach to pitch -- and Price needs to figure out which one is the issue, or how to address both. 

2) Sandy Leon might be coming back to Earth

Over his last five games, Boston’s new leading catcher is hitting .176 (3-for-17), dropping his average to .395.

A couple things have to be understood. His average is still impressive. In the five games prior to this dry spell, Leon went 7-for-19 (.368) But -- much like Jackie Bradley Jr. -- Leon hasn’t been known for his offensive output throughout his career. So dry spells are always tests of how he can respond to adversity and make necessary adjustments quickly.

Furthermore, if he’s not so much falling into a funk as opposed to becoming the real Sandy Leon -- what is Boston getting?

Is his run going to be remembered as an exciting run that lasted much longer than anyone expected? Or if he going to show he’s a legitimate hitter that can hit at least -.260 to .280 with a little pop from the bottom of the line-up?

What’s more, if he turns back into the Sandy Leon he’s been throughout his career, the Red Sox will have an interesting dilemma on how to handle the catching situation once again.

3) Heath Hembree has lost the momentum he gained after being called up.

Following Saturday’s contest, the right-hander was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket after an outing where he went 1/3 of an inning, giving up a run on three hits -- and allowing some inherited runners to score.

Hembree at one point was the savior of the bullpen, stretching his arm out over three innings at a time to bail out the scuffling Red Sox starting rotation that abused it’s bullpen.

His ERA is still only 2.41 -- and this has been the most he’s ever pitched that big league level -- but the Red Sox have seen a change in him since the All-Star break.

Which makes sense, given that hitters have seven hits and two walks against him in his 1.1 innings of work -- spanning four games since the break.

“He’s not confident pitcher right now,” John Farrell said about Hembree before announcing his demotion. “As good as Heath has been for the vast majority of this year -- and really in the whole first half -- the four times out since the break have been the other side of that.”

Joe Kelly will be the pitcher to replace Hembree and Farrell hopes to be able to stretch him out over multiple innings at a time, as well.

Quotes, notes and stars: Price says season has been "terrible"

Quotes, notes and stars: Price says season has been "terrible"

Quotes, notes and stars from the Boston Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins:

QUOTES

* “It’s been terrible . . . Just awful.” Price on how his season has gone.

* “Tough night from the mound -- obviously.” John Farrell on Red Sox pitching in the loss.

* “Honestly I don’t think it’s either one of those. It’s me going out there and making pitches. It’s what I’ve done for a long time now -- and I haven’t done this year. That’s why this year’s been the way it has been.” Price said when he was asked if he felt his problems boiled down to physical or mental issues.

* “Given that [we] had to stay away from [Matt] Barnes and [Junichi] Tazawa today, [Clay Buchholz] was a guy that was going to be needed to hopefully multiple inning to bridge us to where were able to match up a little bit more in the eighth inning to get to Ziegler. Unfortunately it didn’t happen.” Farrell said on why he turned to Buchholz -- not Barnes – despite having the lead.

* “It was crazy. When the fly ball [went] into the sky it turned into like a twister of some sort and you didn’t know where the ball was going to fall. I’ve never seen anything like that before.” Michael Martinez on dealing with the howling wind in right field.

* “It wasn’t much wind. I went and looked at it, definitely should have made the play. Just running at it full speed -- it was one of those things I didn’t know how close I was getting to the wall so I went into a slide. And it was an early slide, so it kind of threw me off a little bit . . . Just thought I was closer to the wall than I really was.” Brock Holt on the fly ball he misplayed.

NOTES

* Jackie Bradley Jr. knocked in two runs, becoming the fourth Red Sox hitter to reach the 60 RBI mark this season -- the most in the MLB. Bradley also had a double, marking is 46th extra-base hit of the season -- with 99 hits overall.

* Dustin Pedroia reached base for the 26th consecutive game with his double in the second inning. He has a .402 OBP during this stretch and a .311 average.

* The Red Sox have lost consecutive games for the first time in nearly a month (6/26-27). Both losses were comeback victories for Minnesota. Boston’s record drops to 3-3 against the 37-60 Twins this season.

STARS

1) Eddie Rosario

Rosario finished 4-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored, bumping his average from .244 to .262.

2) David Ortiz

Ortiz finished 3-for-3 with a walk, double, two RBI and two runs scored -- giving Boston just about as much offense as anyone can hope for.

3) Miguel Sano

The burly Twins third baseman finished 3-for-5 with a long ball, two runs scored, a walk and an RBI in Minnesota’s win.

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar