Report: A's nearing deal with Petaluma power-hitter Gomes

January 20, 2012, 1:33 am
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The A's are nearing a contract that would bring Jonny Gomes home to the Bay Area, according to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Oakland acquired outfielder Seth Smith from the Rockies last week, but GM Billy Beane made it clear he was still looking for an outfielder with success against lefties. Gomes is that guy, carrying a .281 career average against southpaws, to just a .224 average against righties.
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Gomes, 31, is coming off a down year split between Cincinnati and Washington in which he hit .209 with 14 home runs in 120 games.

Gomes, who was born in San Francisco, burst onto the scene with 21 big flies in his first full season with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, placing him third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.

On Christmas Eve of 2002, Gomes suffered a heart attack. He was 22 years old and ignored the symptoms for 27 hours before finally admitting himself. Doctors said he would not have survived another night. After the incident, nitroglycerin pills were kept on hand with the Rays should Gomes' heart seize again.

It makes me think a lot that somebody wants me here," Gomes said after flirting with death. "And has given me the personality that I have now, just being outgoing and bubbly and always upbeat.

That personality -- his veteran clubhouse presence and sense of humor -- is a major reason why Gomes is thought to have been attractive to Beane, who spent most of the offseason stockpiling youngsters.

Meanwhile, Gomes' local ties and his propensity to hit monster home runs are major reasons why he might garner a cult following in Oakland.

Nate Stuhlbarg is a web producer with Follow him on Twitter @StuhlbargCSN.

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