Notes: Gomes remains upbeat

Notes: Gomes remains upbeat

ARLINGTON -- Jonny Gomes won a battle to make the club, but he has been used sparingly since the start of the season. Rays manager Joe Maddon has been shuffling around his outfield, mixing in Rocco Baldelli at DH when he's not playing center field and putting Elijah Dukes in center when Baldelli is the DH. As a result, Gomes has been the odd man out.

"It's tough," Maddon said.

Entering Wednesday night's action, Gomes had played in three games and had a double in six at-bats. But if Gomes is discouraged, he's disguising it well.

"I'm just staying positive," Gomes said. "I mean we're seven, eight days into the year. I'm just staying ready. To tell you the truth I haven't worked this hard in a long time. I'm hitting early. I'm hitting late. I'm hitting during the game. Lifting, running. I think I'm going above and beyond the quota of what I need to be doing to stay ready. Because I know when my name is called there's not that many opportunities."

Gomes said he was not told that he would be in the situation he now finds himself.

"I mean they didn't really tell me anything, but I don't think they need to tell me anything," Gomes said. "[Maddon] writes the lineup. I'm a grown-up man. I don't need a pat on the back or anything. He's the boss. It seems to be working out fine. I mean the boys are hitting."

Though Gomes has never found himself in his present situation in the Major Leagues, it's nothing new to him.

"I've been in this situation in the Minor Leagues in 2001," Gomes said. "You know, I've never had a job, really. I've had to take someone's job. As soon as I started slipping up I was gone. The only thing that's different now from in the past is while I was trying to earn a spot or take a spot, I've always played. I'm not playing. That's the only thing. I don't think there's ever been two days in a row when I didn't play since 2001."

Gomes said it's not hard for him to stay positive. "I'm a positive person, and again, I'm happy to be in the big leagues," Gomes said. "I thought worst-case scenario in Spring Training is I would get sent down. And I was all right with that because I was going to play. It's just kind of hard not playing."

Gomes doesn't like not playing, but he said if he has to sit on the bench and watch, the Rays are worth watching.

"These guys are exciting," Gomes said. "These guys run. And the success all these young guys are having. And the smiles on their faces, I mean it's cool, you know. ... I'm not mad at anybody, I'm not mad at anything. My time will come."

Wiggy smitten with park: Ty Wigginton hit a three-run homer in the third inning of Tuesday night's 12-9 loss. Wigginton's second home run of the season extended the Rays' home run streak to seven games. At no time in team history have the Rays homered in their first seven games.

Wigginton also tied a career high with four RBIs, which he has now accomplished five times in his career. He last turned the trick July 25, 2006 against the Angels.

Wigginton likes hitting in Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

"I think that what makes it so good for right-handed hitters is everybody knows the ball flies to right field," Wigginton said. "You're constantly taking that approach. Then you just react on balls in."

Crawford caught twice: Carl Crawford was caught stealing twice while attempting to steal second base Tuesday night. In 680 Major League games, Crawford had never been caught stealing twice in one game. Kudos should be extended to Rangers catcher Gerald Laird as well as the grounds crew, which didn't seem to know how to turn off the water while treating the infield prior to the start of the game.

"That first base area was rather damp," Maddon said.

This and that: Baldelli and Crawford switched spots in the lineup Wednesday night with Baldelli returning to the leadoff spot, where he hit most of 2006, and Crawford returning to the third spot, where he finished the 2006 season. "Looks like they're both more comfortable in the other slots," Maddon said. ... Casey Fossum will start Thursday night for the Rays, so the Rays put him on a plane Wednesday to allow the left-hander to get a good night's sleep. The Rays' charter will leave after Wednesday night's game and will get to Minneapolis early Thursday morning. Maddon said the Rays will likely employ this practice with their starting pitchers this season. "If it rates an advantage for us, we want to do it," Maddon said.

Up next: The Rays begin a four-game set against the Twins with an 8:10 p.m. ET contest Thursday night at the Metrodome. Fossum will start for the Rays and will be opposed by right-hander Carlos Silva.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.