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Back in lineup, Gomez scores game-winner

Outfielder believes he's healthy enough to contribute on field

MILWAUKEE -- Carlos Gomez had to pass a series of on-field tests before he could return to the Brewers' lineup after experiencing soreness in his right leg. The final hurdle was proving he could play like himself again in a game. The outfielder accomplished that in his return on Tuesday, scoring the winning run in Milwaukee's 3-2 victory over the Mets.

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With one out in the seventh, Gomez scored from first on Adam Lind's double down the left-field line that bounced off the wall in foul territory and under the legs of Mets left fielder Michael Cuddyer.

Gomez, known for his speed both on the base paths and in the outfield, showed no signs of the soreness that has plagued him this season.

"I thought he looked pretty good," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It was a marked improvement over what we saw in Kansas City."

The question, however, is how healthy Gomez actually is and if his recurring right leg soreness will affect him the rest of the way.

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"Right now, I'm good enough to play 100 percent," said Gomez, who indicated he isn't worried about the issue lingering into the coming weeks. "But you're never going to be 100 percent healthy. Every day, it's going to be something. But right now, I'll start, and hopefully in a few more days, I'll be close to 100 percent in that area."

Gomez has missed nine of Milwaukee's past 13 games due to a troublesome right hip and was used as a designated hitter in a game last week when the team traveled to Kansas City. He was also placed on the disabled list back in April after straining the hamstring in the same leg.

While Gomez has avoided a trip to the disabled list this time, the series with the Mets will provide the ultimate test for the 29-year-old. His play on the field will tell both him and the Brewers how healthy he is.

"I'm in the lineup. I want to play," Gomez said. "That starts [Tuesday]. I feel good enough to play. I know [the injury] is not really bad stuff, but it's enough to keep me out a few days. I could through, but it's hard. It's frustrating when I'm not playing the way I like to play. [Tuesday], I'm in and I'm going to try to do my best."

Gomez has produced for the Brewers when able to play, especially recently. He's hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games and is batting .333 (16-for-48) in 12 games during the month of June, including a single to left field on Tuesday.

Gomez's performance when in the lineup and his team-friendly contract make him an attractive trade target for teams looking for an upgrade in center field. Opposing scouts have kept tabs on him while the Brewers continue to sit at the bottom of the National League Central standings.

Gomez is making $8 million this season and is due $9 million in 2016. He had a slash line of .275/.313/.440 with five home runs and 24 RBIs entering Tuesday.

Brandon Curry is an associate reporter for
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