|Gomesu gomesu||ゴメス ゴメス||Gomez! Gomez!|
|Ute yo Gomesu sho-ri no a-chi||打てよ ゴメス 勝利のアーチ||Hit it, Gomez, a winning homer|
|Sutando tsuki sasu||スタンド突き刺す||It drops into the crowd…|
|Ho-muran Gomesu Gomesu||ホームラン ゴメス ゴメス||Home run Gomez!|
Mauro Gomez was signed as a free agent by the Hanshin Tigers on November 22, 2013. Prior to joining the Tigers, he belonged to the Washington Nationals. Despite time with several MLB clubs, his lone top-level experience was with the 2012 Boston Red Sox.
His arrival at spring training in 2014 was expected to be a few days late, as his wife had just given birth to their first daughter on January 27 in the Dominican Republic. However, when his daughter fell ill, his arrival was further delayed, and he was only able to join the team on February 12. His late start was thought to be the reason he struggled during spring camp, but he started the season more strongly than anyone could have imagined: 2 RBIs in his first game, and a new club record 27 straight games reaching base safely to open a season (the previous record was set in 1997 by Gomez’s manager, Yutaka Wada). Gomez continued to produce well throughout the season, and along with fellow import Matt Murton, he helped lead the team into the playoffs in second place. He led the league with 109 RBIs (the first time a first-year import reached triple digits), also whacking 26 home runs and hitting at a .283 pace. Gomez saved his best play for the final round of the Climax Series, though. In four games against the Central League pennant-winning Yomiuri Giants, Gomez knocked in 8 runs including himself twice on home runs. He continued the magic in the first game of the Nippon Series against the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, driving in two more runs, but his engine stalled (as did the team’s) from game 2 onward. Still, at season’s end, Gomez signed on with the club on a two-year deal (with the second year being a club option).
Gomez looked ready to join the club on time for its 2015 spring camp. However, the day before he was set to leave his home, the bag holding his ticket and passport (and visa) was lifted from his car, and for the second straight season, he started late. This time, he arrived on February 8th. While he started the year fairly well once again, knocking in 19 runs by the end of April, he also went through prolonged slumps in May and again from mid August until season’s end. At one point in early September, he brought his drone to Koshien Stadium, flying it around during practice for a 10-minute span. Teammates appeared to be amused, but coaches and media were not so thrilled. When Gomez went 0-4 with 3 strikeouts that day, he was removed from the #4 spot in the order that he had enjoyed since his arrival with the club. He finished the season on a low note, only showing brief glimmers of snapping out of his funk. Still, the club chose to exercise its 2016 option on him, hoping to see a return to his 2014 production.
Newly appointed manager Tomoaki Kanemoto gave Gomez orders to lose some weight and come to camp in better shape, and the slugger answered the challenge. And for the first time in his career, he arrived on time – with two Dominican teammates (Marcos Mateo and Rafael Dolis) in tow. Despite a low average early on, Gomez produced at a high level through the team’s first month – his 9 home runs and 28 RBIs had him near the top of the CL leaders’ board at the end of April. May was also a fairly productive month for him, and things were starting to look good. But the interleague schedule was not kind to him, and he went homerless the entire month of June. He struck out a career-worst 7 straight times and was benched for the first time ever on June 19 after being pinch hit for during the game the previous day. After a brief uptick in production in July (including his first and only multi-homer game on July 27 against the Swallows at Koshien), his average and home run totals steadily decreased the rest of the season. He ended the year with a better line than that of his 2015 season, but it was not enough to convince the club to sign him to a new contract. His release was made official on November 15.
Gomez Not Coming Back in 2017 (November 15, 2016)
Hanshin Exercises Club Option on Gomez for 2016 (December 5, 2015)
Murton and Gomez Climb 990 stairs in 10 minutes (July 14, 2015)
Sponichi Interview Translation: Kataoka on Gomez (February 27, 2015)
Foreigners Report to Japan for 2015 (January 29, 2015)
Gomez Signs On for 2015 (December 9, 2014)
Gomez Hopes to Get 11 RBIs in JS (October 21, 2014)
Mauro Gomez: RBI King (August 30, 2014)
Gomez challenged by ex-Tiger greats to outdo them (August 6, 2014)