PHOENIX (AP) — They share a name and a love of baseball, but Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez says his father was always the bigger deal on the diamond back in their native Dominican Republic.
The younger Gomez finally has something over dear ol' dad. That shiny Gold Glove award would probably look nice on the mantle at the Gomez home.
"He's always said, 'Oh when I (was) 21, I'm better than you, blah, blah, blah," Gomez said lightheartedly. "Yeah, but I'm the one professional. I'm the one with almost eight years in the big leagues. You never made it."
All just good-natured family banter, of course. But safe to say, the younger Gomez has made it.
The 2013 season was a breakout campaign. Besides the Gold Glove award, Gomez hit .284 with 24 homers with 73 RBIs and 40 steals, plus 80 runs scored. In an otherwise disappointing season for Milwaukee, which didn't have sluggers Ryan Braun (suspension, thumb) and Aramis Ramirez (left knee) for long spurts, Gomez was a stabilizing presence in the lineup.
Consistency is the next step for Gomez, who turned 28 in December.
"With his age, he's still learning, he's still improving, and I think with the mental side of it to help all the tools that he has," manager Ron Roenicke said. "I expect him to go out and have the same kind of year, or a little better."
Gomez prides himself on hard work that got him to the point where he's one of the best center fielders in the game. The 6-foot-3, 218-pound Gomez went through his typical offseason routine of conditioning, speed work, hitting and working at the gym. He said he spent the offseason watching video of himself to analyze weaknesses.
"It's all about mentally preparing to stay in the game and preparing to play at the level to keep me on the field," Gomez said. It also means in part learning when it's OK not to go full bore with the glove.