Versatile Gomes thriving with Blue Jays

Versatile Gomes thriving with Blue Jays

Versatile Gomes thriving with Blue Jays
ST. PETERSBURG -- Yan Gomes' versatility is proving to be a valuable asset to the Blue Jays during the early stages of his Major League career.

The 24-year-old rookie came up through Toronto's system as a catcher, but he played some first base last year and has seen his role expanded to third in 2012.

Gomes has proven capable at both corner infield spots, which continues to earn him playing time at the big league level following the departure of veteran Adam Lind to the Minors.

"He's got great aptitude," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "He's not afraid. He's been mostly a catcher in his pro career, but what he's shown on the corners, the versatility and the ability to play both is outstanding."

The transition to third base was relatively odd for someone in Gomes' situation, but it's one that also made sense, considering the club's depth behind the plate. The Blue Jays have second-year catcher J.P. Arencibia firmly entrenched at the Major League level while top prospect Travis d'Arnaud takes up the bulk of the playing time in Triple-A.

That led the club to begin searching for different positions to play Gomes, and third base became a natural fit.

"When you see him receive and you see him catch, he's athletic, he's got good hands, and with d'Arnaud, J.P., his path to the big leagues might require some versatility," Farrell said. "So we started to take some looks and workouts -- he looked OK, we threw him out in a game against the Orioles in Sarasota.

"Well, why not put him out at third base every day in Las Vegas? He'll catch once or twice a week, like a lot of guys, their bat is going to find a way."

Gomes' first opportunity in the big leagues arrived when third Brett Lawrie received a four-game suspension. The native of Brazil has since maintained his spot on the club by entering play Wednesday hitting .357 (5-for-14) with two home runs and four RBIs.