After a whirlwind 40 hours or so for Jonny Gomes from the moment Tuesday night he learned he had been traded to the Washington Nationals until Thursday afternoon, in the third inning, when he walked to the plate with the chance to make a grand impression.
Gomes spent frantic hours Tuesday night arranging for his family to move form Cincinnati to Washington, and Wednesday he settled into the Nationals clubhouse. Thursday, he saw his name in the lineup, batting sixth and playing left field.
“That’s kind of tough outside the lines,” Gomes said. “Inside the lines, you’ve still got a nine-inning ballgame.”
In his debut with the Nationals, Gomes went 0 for 3 and was hit by a pitch during their 5-2 loss to the Marlins. Gomes made two crucial outs, grounding into a bases-loaded double play in the third inning and striking out with two down and runners on the corners in the seventh.
“You can’t help but kind of jump into an interview, if you will,” Gomes said. “It’s everyone’s first time seeing you and whatnot. I’ve got a few years in now. I’m a little older. I’m definitely not nervous by any means. But there’s still some sea legs. I can’t remember the last time I grounded into a double play with the bases loaded, maybe ever. I had to go back in the archives to find that. So I’m a little bit out of my element, things like that. But I felt good at the plate.”
Despite the rough first day in the lineup, Gomes didn’t expect much of an in-game change from the Reds to the Nationals. He is not switching leagues after a year and a half in Cincinnati.
“It’s not like they’re going to pitch me different because I’m in a different uniform,” Gomes said. “There’s certain strategies with guys who hit behind you, who hit in front of you, guys who like to run, guys who don’t like to run – just kind of situational ball inside the clubhouse that I’ll have to adjust to. That just comes with days of service to this team.”
In a broader sense, though, Gomes said he’s getting “sea legs” with his new team. He had never been traded before, and so the experience is something he’s still adjusting to.
“Too much pressure, not enough, I don’t know,” Gomes said. “That groundball with the bases loaded didn’t help my day much. But I’ll come back tomorrow ready to rock.”