Versatile Gomes gets another game behind plate

Versatile Gomes gets another game behind plate

TORONTO -- Yan Gomes got another rare start behind the plate for the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon against the Yankees.

Gomes came up through Toronto's Minor League system as a catcher, but he has spent the vast majority of his time in the big leagues as a utilityman. When starter J.P. Arencibia went down with a fractured right hand late last month, that opened the door for Gomes to see more time behind the plate, but so far most of the action has gone to veteran Jeff Mathis.

"In the limited exposure he's had, I think he has handled [Henderson] Alvarez good both times he has caught him," manager John Farrell said of Gomes, who was making his fourth start at catcher. "Prior to coming up, he was behind the plate pretty much every day. That's where he has gotten his most reps of late, and defensively he's handled the position fine.

"Offensively, when he's not getting regular ABs, with his swing and the amount of moving parts that he's got, that can be challenging for him to maintain consistent timing."

Gomes has also seen time this year at first base, third base and left field. The versatility has been a major bonus for a Blue Jays team that has dealt with more than their fair share of injuries, but Gomes still hasn't received an extended look at any one spot.

That has limited his overall at-bats and Farrell admitted the lack of playing time could be hindering Gomes' performance at the plate. The Brazil native is hitting just .176 (12-for-68) with three home runs and 10 RBIs despite a hot start.

If Gomes is going to have a future in the big leagues next year he'll need to adjust to a part-time role, but that has been a work in progress so far this season. The main reason is Gomes' complicated mechanics at the plate, said Farrell.

"You see the handset, there's a lot of movement to his loading position," Farrell said. "He has a pretty pronounced leg kick. Anytime you start to create movement, you're going to have to rely on some consistent timing.

"That's not to say what he's doing is wrong, that's just to say that's the way he swings and he has some regular maintenance to it rather than a low maintenance approach or swing."