After stint on DL, Gomez rounding into form

July 2nd, 2016

HOUSTON -- Carlos Gomez is looking like his old self again.

Gomez swung the bat well Friday night, hitting a two-run home run in the Astros' 5-0 win over the White Sox.

It's more of the same for Gomez, who has been a much better player since returning from a short stint on the 15-day disabled list with bruised ribs. In 25 games since his return, he's batting .286 with an .835 OPS for 26 hits, five doubles, 15 RBIs, 13 runs and only 31 strikeouts.

Plus, all four of Gomez's home runs this season have come after his stint on the DL.

"He looks good," second baseman Jose Altuve said. "He's a great guy. He works hard, but I don't know what he's doing differently."

The 30-year-old center fielder started the season in a bad way, batting a paltry .182 and striking out 46 times in his first 34 games. After 121 at-bats on the season, Gomez had only five RBIs and six runs.

Not exactly what you want to see from a two-time All-Star.

"He dug himself a pretty good hole at the beginning," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "It's really hard to get out of it."

Gomez then went on the 15-day DL, missing 13 games from May 17-30. Since returning, his play has been night-and-day.

So what exactly changed?

"I get hits," Gomez said. "That's it. I hit the ball and hit it forward. No foul ball."

Simple enough, but Hinch said Gomez's perseverance is a big factor in the turnaround as well.

"He's being Carlos Gomez," Hinch said. "He's really worked hard to get himself back into a productive player. I think since he's come back from the DL, he's been as productive a player as we can expect and wish for."

Gomez stressed the importance in doing your job every day and having faith in yourself.

"When you've been doing this for 10 years, it's because you're a pro," Gomez said. "The only thing you can do is continue to believe in yourself, work hard."

As for Gomez's signature swing, is it powerful enough to make his batting helmet fly off seemingly once per game?

"It's still in there," Hinch joked. "Don't worry."