Father's strictness paying dividends now for Sox' Gomez

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Father's strictness paying dividends now for Sox' Gomez

BRONX, NY The teenager thought he could get away with it. Maybe, just maybe, he could pull one over on his father.

That plan didnt go so well. At all.

Cecilio Gomez was strict. As a military official in the Dominican Republic for over 20 years, he taught his children discipline and the value of education. Mauro, the oldest of three siblings, understood his fathers rules. There were times, though, when he wanted to be like the rest of his 13-year-old friends and miss a few days of school to play baseball.

Not in the Gomez household.

I remember one time he woke me up to go to school, Gomez told CSNNE.com. He went to work so I kept sleeping. When he came back, my mother told him I didnt go to school. He yelled at me, and it never happened again.

The discipline enforced by his father is one of the reasons why Gomez recounted the story from his locker in the Boston Red Sox visiting clubhouse in Yankee Stadium on Saturday, shortly after being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket.

The infielder knew early on that he wanted to pursue a career in baseball. At age 13, he started preparing for tryouts three years down the road. At 16, scouts began to take notice. By the time he was 18, the Texas Rangers signed him as an amateur free agent.

Growing up in the city of Bani, where baseball is a focal point of the community, Gomez found it difficult at times to split his attention between school and baseball when all he wanted to do was play the sport he loved.

It was a little bit hard, he said. I hated going to school, I just wanted to play baseball. When I was 15, I said, Hey dad, no more school. I just want to play baseball. He said, no. Youve got to finish. So I kept trying and kept trying.

Gomez continued his education until he signed. Looking back now at 27 years old, he believes staying in school has given him an advantage in his baseball career.

He played six years in the Rangers minor league system before signing with the Atlanta Braves in 2009. After two seasons in the Double-A and Triple-A levels, Gomez joined the Boston Red Sox in February. He made his Major League debut on May 13.

It makes you a better person, Gomez said of staying in school. I have good discipline. ... I understand the culture here. I just do what I have to do. I listen to the coach and veterans like Big Papi (David Ortiz), Adrian (Gonzalez), Pedey (Dustin Pedroia). I think thats going to help me.

Gomez was called up from the Pawtucket Red Sox on Saturday after pitcher Felix Doubront was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He immediately began mingling with his teammates, from fellow rookies to veteran players, when he arrived at Yankee Stadium.

Ortiz grinned as he talked about Gomez, praising his willingness to listen and eagerness to seek out advice. Gomez often asks him for tips on offense.

Thats my boy, said Ortiz. We try to teach him how to do the right thing, and this a game where consistency is the number one key for you to succeed here. At the stage where he is, its something where its still a learning process. He wants to make sure that hes at the right place at the right time doing the right thing so he can continue his career at this level.

He continued, Everybody that comes to this level tries to learn the best thing to do so you can stay here longer. The military, its something thats a process and hes trying to figure out things, which is a great thing now. Its something thats going to keep him around longer and give him the opportunity to have a wonderful career.

As a teenager, Gomez wanted to do one thing and one thing only. Taking the field as a member of the Red Sox 14 years later, he appreciates his fathers discipline and enforcement of education. And because he listened, now he gets to play ball every day.

Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

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Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni sits down with Pedro Martinez and Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis to discuss one of Pedro's greatest games. 

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On September 10, 1999 at the height of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, Pedro Martinez struck out 17 Yankees in a complete game victory, with the only hit he allowed being a home run to Chili Davis. The two men recall that memorable night in the Bronx, and discuss the state of pitching in 2017.

MLB players' union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

MLB players' union agrees to pitchless intentional walks

NEW YORK - There won't be any wild pitches on intentional walks this season.

The players' association has agreed to Major League Baseball's proposal to have intentional walks without pitches this year.

"It doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I know they're trying to cut out some of the fat. I'm OK with that," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

While the union has resisted many of MLB's proposed innovations, such as raising the bottom of the strike zone, installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound, players are willing to accept the intentional walk change.

"As part of a broader discussion with other moving pieces, the answer is yes," union head Tony Clark wrote Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press. "There are details, as part of that discussion, that are still being worked through, however."

The union's decision was first reported by ESPN .

"I'm OK with it. You signal. I don't think that's a big deal," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "For the most part, it's not changing the strategy, it's just kind of speeding things up. I'm good with it."

There were 932 intentional walks last year, including 600 in the National League, where batters are walked to bring the pitcher's slot to the plate.

"You don't want to get your pitcher out of a rhythm, and when you do the intentional walk, I think you can take a pitcher out of his rhythm," Girardi said. "I've often wondered why you don't bring in your shortstop and the pitcher stand at short. Let the shortstop walk him. They're used to playing catch more like that than a pitcher is."

Agreement with the union is required for playing rules changes unless MLB gives one year advance notice, in which case it can unilaterally make alterations. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope Tuesday that ongoing talks would lead to an agreement on other changes but also said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Some changes with video review can be made unilaterally, such as shortening the time to make a challenge.

"I know they were thinking about putting in a 30-second (limit) for managers to make a decision," Francona said. "I actually wish they would. I think it would hustle it up and if we can't tell in 30 seconds, maybe we shouldn't be doing it anyway."