FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Before coming to Boston for the most memorable season of his career, Jonny Gomes was a contributor for winning teams in Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, Washington and Oakland.
But he never put a permanent likeness of those first four teams on his body. Whether or not he stays with the Red Sox for the rest of his career, Gomes assured that he will be defined by them forever.
One of the things Gomes did during an eventful offseason was get a giant tattoo depicting his bearded face wearing a Red Sox hat. The art is accompanied by a Boston Strong logo, a duckboat from the champions parade and the World Series trophy.
"I catch grief here and there about having a big league logo on my body," said Gomes. "But at the same time, I wouldn't give anyone grief if they had an Arizona Diamondbacks World Series ring in our clubhouse and they wore it all the time. I'm happy with it. It's cool. It's not on my neck. No one has to see it."
What was the thinking behind it?
"I just wanted to come up with something that documented … what single adjective could describe last year?" said Gomes. "Worst to first, the ring, first year with the Sox, Boston Strong, the beards, all that. It would probably make a heck of a T-shirt or bumper sticker, but I'm the guy who gets the tattoo."
He's also the guy that shaved his beard. Gomes might have led the beard brigade that went on to define the World Series-winning Red Sox in 2013, but he also set the tone that this is a new year by arriving at camp clean-shaven.
"I teased him, he looked like a freshman in high school, all clean shaven," said right fielder Shane Victorino. "But he said, 'Don't judge a book by its cover,' and I said, 'I know one thing, I would not judge your book by the cover.' Jonny, he definitely looks young, but I'm sure that facial hair will grow back."
Gomes was at peace shedding that huge beard, and he now carries just a slight stubble of hair just under his lip.
"No one died. We're going to be all right," Gomes joked about the subtraction of his beard. "[Mike Napoli's] beard is awesome. The beard didn't hit or throw a fastball all year. I think I'll be all right."
Though Gomes is a platoon player, manager John Farrell turned him into a starter in the postseason, mentioning that the Red Sox had a different edge when he was on the field.
Gomes will probably revert to mainly starting against lefties in the regular season, but he is always up for more.
"The name of the game is health for me -- try and be prepared to be ready for 162-plus," said Gomes. "I was last year -- didn't go on the DL, didn't come out of a game for a physical reason, didn't have a physical reason stop me from starting. With that being said, keep my health up and hopefully everything else pans out."