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Gomes will try to earn time against righties


FORT MYERS, Fla. -- While most positions are set in the Red Sox's lineup entering the season, the one place where at-bats are up for grabs is left field.

Newcomer Jonny Gomes will play against all lefties, but he also has a chance to earn his share of time against right-handers.

"If you succeed at platooning, you should have the opportunity to have more on your plate," said Gomes. "Am I putting my foot down to have some more time? No. Absolutely not. I do whatever helps the team. Last year, I platooned with a couple of guys and no one ran their mouth, nobody did anything, and that all leads to success and that all leads to winning. As soon as you've got guys butting heads for playing time, it all starts to go downhill a little bit."

Last year for the Oakland Athletics, Gomes had 279 at-bats.

"I came into camp to play 162 [games]," Gomes said. "It's not my choice. I don't make the lineup, but when my number is called, you can count on it that I'll be ready."

In his career vs. lefties, Gomes is a .284 hitter with 50 homers, 154 RBIs and an .894 OPS in 934 at-bats. Against righties, Gomes is a .223 hitter with 86 homers, 257 RBIs and .732 OPS in 712 at-bats.

"We know for a fact that he's been much stronger against left-handed pitching," said manager John Farrell. "That's a given. But we're not going to limit -- if he shows he can handle some right-handed pitching -- we're not going to take that away from him. We're going to give him opportunities to do that in Spring Training and certainly as we get into the start of the season."

Ryan Sweeney and Daniel Nava are among the left-handed hitters who will try to earn some at-bats in left.

Though veteran first baseman Lyle Overbay has never played the outfield in his career, he might get a chance this spring.

"It's been discussed," said Farrell. "[I'm] certainly not going to limit it right now. There's a possibility that will happen."

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