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New England native Brandon Gomes to make first pro appearance at Fenway Park

Rays reliever Brandon Gomes is a Massachusetts native who grew up a Red Sox fan and can’t wait for his chance to step on the Fenway Park mound: “To be honest with you, it’s going to be really exciting.”

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Rays reliever Brandon Gomes is a Massachusetts native who grew up a Red Sox fan and can’t wait for his chance to step on the Fenway Park mound: “To be honest with you, it’s going to be really exciting.”

BOSTON — The Legend of Sam Fuld was born when the New Hampshire native made a dazzling debut at Fenway Park during the Rays' last visit in April. Today, there's another son of New England set to make his first professional appearance on the hallowed ground, though RHP Brandon Gomes, a rookie reliever and product of Fall River, Mass., does so with more modest expectations.

"I'm not going to get four knocks and make diving plays," Gomes said, "but I'd be happy to go out there and throw up a zero."

Fuld's first Fenway foray was more likely a matter of time, as he had played parts of three seasons in the majors, with the National League Cubs, before being traded to the Rays.

But when Gomes takes the mound — and with three games in two days, there's a good chance — it will be a celebrated achievement given that he hadn't pitched above Double A in four seasons with the Padres before coming to the Rays in the Jason Bartlett trade.

"It's amazing how quickly things change," Gomes said.

Fall River is a hard-scrabble Massachusetts town, 45-60 minutes from Fenway, not unlike Lowell, Mass., which was portrayed so starkly in the movie The Fighter. Gomes grew up like everyone else a Red Sox fan — "It's the culture there," he said — and specifically of Pedro Martinez. He had the opportunity to attend only 8-10 games and shared the same dream of many others to one day be on the field.

His first chance, a high school all-star game, got rained out. He got another, for a practice session anyway, when he played in the Cape Cod League, but didn't make it to the mound. Doing so as a big-league player, with his parents, grandfather, aunts, uncles, cousins and a slew of high school buddies watching, will be all the better.

"To be honest with you," Gomes said, "it's going to be really exciting."

Super Sam: Fuld is realistic about a repeat after going 5-for-10, with four extra-base hits, in the two April games. "I think it's going to be hard to top that," he said.

Double-dipping: Rays manager Joe Maddon is not a fan of day-night doubleheaders because of how long the players will be at the field — from roughly 10 a.m. to after 11 p.m. — and because they have to sit around for 2-3 hours between games and get loose for a second time.

"I think it's suboptimal regarding the players and their health, etc.," Maddon said. "I've just never liked the concept. I don't mind (traditional) doubleheaders. You play, take a 20-minute break and you play. But this is kind of crazy."

The games are split so separate admissions can be charged.

Well-armed: With Sunday's rainout and Monday's scheduled off day, the Rays will have the benefit of a fully rested bullpen. Maddon said he'll have everyone available for the matinee then sort out who could work the second game. "You try to win the first game because you have no idea what's going to happen in the second game."

More Moore?: Executive VP Andrew Friedman said the Rays haven't decided yet if top prospect LHP Matt Moore is a possible September callup.

Moore, 22, has dazzled since a late-July promotion to Triple-A Durham, going 3-0, 0.88 in five starts. Before that, he was 8-3, 2.20, including a no-hitter, at Double-A Montgomery.

"We're really pleased with Matt's development," Friedman said. "The question on Matt is one that we'll discuss internally and then with Matt before we do publicly."

A promotion seems unlikely unless the Rays are back in the playoff race and Moore could be used in relief.

Miscellany: The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office on Monday arrested the third and final person sought — Tavarious Marquiz Smith, 15 — in the burglary of the spring home shared by 3B Evan Longoria, LHP David Price and SS Reid Brignac. … RHP Alex Cobb's surgery to remove a blockage in a vein remains on hold after his bad reaction to medication. … OF Brandon Guyer returned to action for Triple-A Durham after missing three weeks with an oblique strain. … Charlotte LHP Kyle Lobstein was FSL pitcher of the week.

New England native Brandon Gomes to make first pro appearance at Fenway Park 08/15/11 [Last modified: Monday, August 15, 2011 10:13pm]
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