Rays journal: Carlos Gomez finds the spotlight, twice

Rays outfielder Carlos Gomez, shown here from a game earlier this season, has gotten quite a bit of attention while out in Oakland. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Times]
Rays outfielder Carlos Gomez, shown here from a game earlier this season, has gotten quite a bit of attention while out in Oakland. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published May 31, 2018|Updated May 31, 2018

OAKLAND, Calif. — OF Carlos Gomez is becoming the most interesting man in the Rays world.

He was all over computer and TV screens for his entertaining actions Tuesday, "borrowing" sunglasses from an A's fan to wear in the first inning, then returning them with payment, the ball he caught for the third out.

Gomez didn't know the sun would be an issue until he got to rightfield in the first inning. He checked first with the Rays' bullpen crew for glasses, then looked to fans in nearby seats. The first pair offered didn't fit, then he asked the second fan who obliged.

"You don't plan that, it just happens,'' Gomez said. "It's a show. They want us to perform. I made his night, he made my night. It was all over the news, everybody was talking about that. As a fan you want to see that. You don't know what you can expect. Now I'm in the brains of people, 'What are we going to see Carlos Gomez do tonight?' They don't know.''

The fan, Matt Welch, told Fox Sports reporter Michelle Margaux it was "really cool" that Gomez gave him the ball when he returned the glasses.

But Gomez was also in the headlines for insisting that MLB's drug-testing process targets certain players, specifically older and/or Hispanic ones.
MLB issued a statement to the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday refuting that claim, insisting the program, negotiated with the players union, "is independently administered and has random testing procedures in place with no regard for a player's birthplace, age or any other factor. Every aspect of the test selection process is randomized and de-identified, and every player is included each time random selection is conducted.''

Gomez's reply: Show me.

"We want to know. Who knows how they pick the guys?" he said. "Does anybody know? It's not about the drug test, it's about how they do it. We need to know. … It's my right.'''

Cool Elias note of the date

The Rays, per Elias Sports, were the first team since the 2009 Padres to get back over .500 before the end of May after being nine or more games under. … They hadn't been two games over since Aug. 10, 2017.

Starry eyed

Interesting decision by the Rays to leave SS Adeiny Hechavarria off the All-Star fan-voting ballot to get infielders Joey Wendle and Daniel Robertson on. Their candidates: 1B Brad Miller, 2B Wendle, SS Robertson, 3B Matt Duffy, C Wilson Ramos, DH C.J. Cron, OFs Gomez, Kevin Kiermaier, Mallex Smith.


• RHP Jaime Schultz was sent back to Triple-A Durham after his impressive Tuesday debut, striking out all three A's he faced. Cash said Schultz should be better for the experience, albeit brief.

• Hard-throwing RHP Ryne Stanek will "open" today's game, the Rays thinking there is an advantage with a pitcher throwing 100 mph at the start of a game.

• C Nick Ciuffo, on drug suspension since spring training, was reinstated and assigned to the advanced Class A Stone Crabs.

• Two-way prospect LHP/1B Brendan McKay allowed his first runs, in his third start, for the Crabs. He gave up four over six innings while striking out nine and issued his first walk.

• Cron, Wendle and Ramos teamed Tuesday to hit the fourth back-to-back-to-back homers in franchise history and first since 2016.