CHICAGO — Jonny Gomes singled in the third inning against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday. The Red Sox had a 1-0 lead at the time.
When Dustin Pedroia followed with a ground ball to third base, Gomes made an aggressive slide into second. The throw from Trevor Plouffe to Jamey Carroll went into right field and a run scored. The Sox were on their way to a 5-1 victory.
“Carroll’s not staying in there when I’m coming in hard,” Gomes said. “You have to understand baseball and be able to dissect baseball to see where I shine. There’s different ways than the standard statistics that you can change a game.”
That’s why Gomes isn’t particularly concerned about his .190 batting average through 33 games.
“You can’t really look at numbers,” Gomes said. “How am I hitting with runners in scoring position? Which one do you look at? If you’re a part-time player you want your hits to count.”
Gomes is 3 for 12 with seven walks and eight RBIs in 22 plate appearances with runners in scoring position.
“Look at my on-base percentage, too,” he said. “I’m getting my walks.”
Gomes was right about that. He has a .340 on-base percentage and 18 walks. Through Sunday, that was tied for second on the team in walks.
“It’s easier to evaluate yourself when you play every day,” he said. “The main thing as a platoon player and a part-time player is you have to grind and fight and play defense. Get hit in the neck if you have to. To me, it’s valuable to just win.
“I know everybody wants to win. If I play and we win, I don’t really care what else happens.”
Gomes did not start against White Sox righthander Dylan Axelrod Monday night, although he replaced Shane Victorino in the outfield in the sixth inning and walked in the eighth. But manager John Farrell plans to start him against lefthanders Jose Quintana and Chris Sale on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Seemingly, he’s been involved in something all the time. In his current situation, I think the batting average is a little misleading,” Farrell said. “I look at the on-base and he gets on base. He’s got a high number of walks, and it’s been both against righties and lefties even though his career strength is against lefthanded pitching.”
Farrell values statistics. But he also appreciates the qualities Gomes has that aren’t so easily measured.
“I think he brings a little bit of an intangible and an edge to his game that you feel and that plays out on the field,” the manager said. “So he’s done what we expected in this role and we know, based on track record, that those performance numbers will start to come into line a little bit more as we get deeper into the season.”
Farrell said it’s a skill for a player to keep himself prepared when he’s in a part-time role.
“[Gomes] manages the game in his own mind and as that’s unfolding, whether it’s an inning or two ahead of time, you won’t have to have a whole lot of conversation,” he said. “You make eye contact and you know he’s ready to go.”
Jose Iglesias, who has played only shortstop in his career, worked out at third base on Monday before Triple A Pawtucket played Indianapolis. He is expected to play third later this week and will get work at second base, too.
Assistant general manager Mike Hazen said the Red Sox do not intend to make Iglesias into a utility player long term. The idea is to prepare him for that role in case the need arises this season.
Pedro Ciriaco has not played well for the Red Sox, committing six errors in 103 innings and hitting .184.
Utility infielder Brock Holt, who was acquired from the Pirates in the Joel Hanrahan trade, spent much of spring training with the major league team. But he has struggled at the plate for Pawtucket this season, hitting .198 through Sunday.
Bailey is back
The Red Sox activated closer Andrew Bailey off the disabled list. Righthander Jose De La Torre was optioned to Pawtucket.
Bailey had been out since April 29 with a biceps strain. He pitched one inning for Pawtucket during his absence.
“He makes our bullpen better. Everyone will slot back into a similar role they had when Andrew was still with us before the injury,” Farrell said.
“He’ll go back into the closer’s role. We will have to monitor the workload and whether back-to-back [days pitching] is a good thing for him right now.”
Bailey said he is ready to work consecutive days if needed.
“We talked before I went on rehab and [Farrell] said we have to communicate a little bit better within usage and stuff,” Bailey said. “For me, I’m ready to go. If I wasn’t able to go back-to-back, I think that’s another issue so I wouldn’t be here. I’m fully capable of doing it.”
Said Farrell: “He’s had one outing in 19 days. I think it’s best we get a couple of appearances under his belt before we look to do that.”
Step ahead for Ross
Backup catcher David Ross, who is out with a concussion, was cleared to start working out. He then threw, hit off a tee, and rode an exercise bicycle at Fenway Park.
“The symptoms have resolved,” Farrell said. “We’ll look to increase the intensity of the work tomorrow. So he’s turning the corner.”
When the Sox get back to Fenway on Friday, they’ll decide whether Ross gets activated or plays in a minor league game or two.
Ross was concussed May 11 when he was struck on the mask by two foul balls.
In their thoughts
Farrell played and coached at Oklahoma State and he was following news of the tornadoes there the last few days. “Our thoughts are with all the people,” he said.
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks also was personally affected. His sister, Lacey, is a recent graduate of Tulsa University and his father, Tom, is from Oklahoma. They were traveling from Tulsa back to Texas on Monday.
Home on the road
Ryan Dempster played for the Cubs from 2004 until he was traded to the Rangers last July. Monday marked his first time back in uniform in Chicago. Dempster’s children live in Chicago and he had his son, Brady, with him in the clubhouse before the game . . . The Cleveland Indians are 26-17 under Terry Francona after beating Seattle Monday. Has Farrell heard much from his old friend? “He’s too busy winning,” Farrell said. “I think everybody in baseball is watching. They have a very good team. They’re playing with a heck of a lot of confidence.” The Indians arrive at Fenway Park on Thursday for four games . . . The eighth annual Futures at Fenway game will be July 27, with Double A Portland playing Harrisburg. Tickets start at $5 for the noon game and go on sale to the general public on Wednesday via redsox.com or by calling 877-733-7699. The event will include a postgame concert by “The Kidz Bop Kids” and fans will be allowed to take their dogs to the game.