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Red Sox sign outfielder Jonny Gomes to two-year contract

The Boston Red Sox today signed veteran outfielder Jonny Gomes to a two-year contract through the 2014 season.  Gomes had a career-high .377 on-base percentage for Oakland in 2012, including a .404 mark after the All-Star break that ranked fifth in the American League.  He hit .262 (73-for-279) with 18 home runs and 47 RBI in 99 games for the AL West champions. 

Gomes, 32, led the Majors by batting .480 (12-for-25) with two outs and runners in scoring position, the best mark in the American League in 17 years.  He hit .311 (19-for-61) with runners in scoring position and .306 with runners on base (38-for-124).

On the road, he led the league with a .409 on-base percentage, a .578 slugging percentage and a .987 OPS (minimum 150 plate appearances).

Gomes homered once every 15.5 at-bats, the second-best ratio of his career (14 AB/HR in 2009) and the 10th best in the AL (min. 300 PA).  Eight of his 18 home runs gave his team the lead.

Only David Ortiz, Jose Bautista, Adam Dunn, and Mike Napoli had both a higher walk rate and home run rate in 2012 than Gomes (min. 300 PA), who drew 44 walks in his 99 games (7.57 PA/BB).

He started 46 games at designated hitter, 25 in left field, and three in right field.  Lifetime, he has played more games in left field (327) than any other position (DH, 323; right field, 145).

The right-handed hitter batted .299 (49-for-164) against left-handed pitching in 2012 with 11 home runs, tied for the ninth-most in the AL.  All 10 of his doubles also came against lefties; those 21 extra-base hits off southpaws tied for eighth in the circuit.

Gomes’ .413 on-base percentage vs. lefties ranked fifth in the AL, his .974 OPS was seventh, and his .561 slugging percentage was 10th.

The Petaluma, CA native was the first player in Oakland A’s history to hit a home run for each of his first three hits in a season.  Petaluma is approximately 40 miles north of Oakland.

The 2012 season with the A’s was his lone season near his home after six years with Tampa Bay (2003-08), 2 ½ with Cincinnati (2009-11), and one half with Washington (2011).  He was Tampa Bay’s 18th-round pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft.

In 10 big league seasons, Gomes has hit .244 (646-for-2,646) in 880 games with 123 doubles, 14 triples, 136 home runs, 411 RBI, 389 runs, 308 walks and 48 stolen bases.  He has hit at least 20 home runs in a season three times.

Against lefties, he has hit .284 lifetime (265-for-934) with 50 home runs and a .512 slugging percentage.  In the last eight years, his .900 OPS is 15th best in the Majors (min. 1,000 PA vs. LHP).

Gomes has participated in postseason play with the Reds in 2010 and the A’s in 2012.

Before Gomes, the last Major Leaguer to have hit as high as .480 with two outs and runners in scoring position was Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, who hit .486 in 1995, also with the A’s. 

Exceptionally active in the community, Gomes received the 2012 Dave Stewart Community Service Award, given annually to an A’s player for charitable contributions throughout Northern California and across the nation.  When his hometown team from Petaluma reached the Little League World Series this year, he raised funds for families’ transportation and lodging.  He and the A’s then provided the team with a special batting practice experience and pre-game ceremonies. 

In Petaluma, Gomes is also involved with an annual charity baseball clinic, Camp for a Cure, to raise funds for research and treatment of cancer, lupus, and diabetes.

In addition, he has supported TroopsDirect, the Wounded Warrior Project, Boys & Girls Clubs, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Alternative Family Services, and the David Benzer Torture Cancer Foundation.

With the signing, the Red Sox 40-man roster is now at 38.

Boston Red Sox