After signing last season, Gomez was sent to Vancouver, where he struggled with the C's. In 21.2 innings, Gomez posted an 8.11 ERA and walked 11. After a strong stint at extended spring training, Gomez has returned to the Canadians looking for more success in his second tour of the Northwest League. In three appearances thus far this season, Gomez has allowed three runs in 4.1 innings.
Jeremy Knight spoke with Gomez last Saturday about his return to Vancouver, his time at extended spring and more...
Jeremy Knight: This is your second year with the Canadians. You're the only lefty in the bullpen. Do you think that'll mean more playing time and a quicker way out of Vancouver?
Fabian Gomez: Honestly, playing time I've had those two innings [through Saturday]. I got the line drive off my knee so I'm more concerned about me being healthy before I get back out there. Today [Saturday] I almost went in there, so I'm looking to get more playing time but being the only lefty isn't a bad thing for the organization, and I like being the only lefty so I know if there's a left-handed hitter or situational stuff I can get in there.
JK: You picked off two runners in your season debut, is that a part of your game you feel confident in?
FG: Oh yeah. I mean I got the signal to do the inside move to second to get the guy in-between, and the second pick at first was a move I've been working on for years now. I caught the guy off-guard, and I'm confident in my pick-off move and I know I can pick anybody off.
JK: Last year, Canadians fans may remember you starting and relieving. Which do you prefer, starting, or coming in during a tight situation as a reliever?
FG: Starting the game is fun. It's always fun hearing the first strike to start the game, and hear the crowd jumping loud, but coming out of the bullpen with two runners on base is the adrenaline thing you get, and I don't get that when I'm starting. If it was my choice, well I've started my whole career, but relieving isn't bad, I actually enjoy it.
JK: You went to extended spring training, and some of the people you were playing with last year in Vancouver, got moved up to Kane County after a month or two. Knowing you didn't get called up to Kane County or Stockton when they needed some relievers, is it somewhat disappointing that you're not at the top of the chain as to who they want to get moved up there?
FG: No, I wasn't disappointed. They took up some other lefties, some other pitchers and I wasn't questioning why are they not picking me? I was just congratulating those guys and I just kept throwing the way I had been throwing. And I feel like I'm doing 10 times better than last year.
JK: I talked to a few people earlier this week who've said you've grown as a ballplayer and as a person at extended. Is it a good thing to know that people think more of you as a person and as a player after just a few months?
FG: Yeah. This off-season I worked my butt off and my stuff got better. I have command of all my pitches, and I'm very disappointed about those two walks I had [in his first outing], but in extended, from the beginning to end, I believe I got better and I can see as a person I grew. My priorities, and my life is now focused on baseball. A lot of stuff, and a lot of people that know me, know that most things are being put to the side, so I can try to get moved up by the end of the year.
JK: Would you say there's a change of pace between extended and here [Vancouver]?
FG: Yeah, it is. In extended you're pretty much playing scrimmages, and here it's time to buckle down and show off the stuff we've been working on. It sucks that we haven't been hitting the ball lately. We're all disappointed, and the pitching has been strong this year. I know everybody is disappointed we're 1-4 [as of Saturday] and we're hoping we get focused on the road, on the five-hour trip to Yakima, and we can get things done.
JK: This year in spring training, another lefty from last year Aaron Jenkins was released after having a poor spring, and then Bryan Collins was released the next month. Does that hit home, knowing if you have a few poor outings in a row, you could be done playing for the A's organization?
FG: I know I'll be playing baseball for a very long time. I had a couple bad outings and the next outing I didn't think about it, I just went out there and pitched. Last year, my problem was that I thought way too much on that mound. Now, I go on the mound, grab the ball, and pitch. I see the hitter, look at notes, and I actually pitch out there.
Bryan Collins was my roommate, and when he got released it was like, 'we're like a bunch of experiment rats, if you don't do well they'll throw you out.' If I get released, I don't want to be the kind of guy who's getting talked about like, 'Oh, he didn't do this, he didn't do that,' because I'm trying my hardest and that's all I can do.
Jeremy Knight is known as Canada's wonderkid of sports reporting. He covers CFL football, college baseball and minor league hockey for The Roadkill Sports Blog, and pro baseball for Notes From The Nat and Scout.com.