OAKLAND -- Even for a journeyman like Jonny Gomes, returning to a past haunt like Oakland distinguishes itself from other road trips.
"I'm not far removed," said Gomes, who was a member of the A's 2012 postseason run. "This is my fifth team, but it's a team I grew up cheering for as a kid, so it sort of separates itself."
The Bay Area native batted .262 with 18 home runs and 47s RBIs with Oakland last year before signing a two-year, $10 million deal with Boston. The outfielder said he still keeps in touch with the majority of the team and sends texts, both of congratulations and in a ragging manner.
There hasn't been too much opportunity for the latter, as the A's sit in first place in the American League West in Gomes' absence. Of course, the Red Sox aren't doing too bad themselves with the best record in the AL.
"You can take any division in baseball," Gomes said. "As long as you're in first place, it's going to be a good clubhouse."
As far as differences between the two organizations go, Gomes said the thing that varies most is the average age of his teammates.
"This clubhouse is full of veterans," Gomes said. "Not that it makes it better, but there doesn't have to be as many things taught or policed in this clubhouse. As far as staying loose and having fun, I think that just comes with being in first place."
Jeff Kirshman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.