BOSTON — Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes expects cooler heads to prevail this weekend.
Gomes, who was smack-dab in the middle of a tussle Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, isn’t banking on another bench-clearing incident when the teams hook up at Fenway Park beginning Friday.
“To me it’s over, total non-issue now,” Gomes told the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham on Thursday. “Given the state of our team, we have to worry about winning games. I think (Rays shortstop Yunel) Escobar went out of his way to start something, but that’s over with now.”
Escobar took third base with the Rays leading 8-3 in the seventh inning of Sunday’s game. It led to words being exchanged between Escobar and players in the Red Sox’s dugout, at which point Gomes charged in from left field, kicking off a bench-clearing shoving match. Both Gomes and Escobar were ejected for their involvement in the fray.
The Red Sox ended up dropping their 10th straight on Sunday, but they’ve since won four games in a row. Escobar and Rays manager Joe Maddon also have declared the battle over, even though all eyes undoubtedly will be fixated on Boston and Tampa Bay this weekend, especially given their recent history of altercations.
“I’ll be fine. I’m happy getting to first base,” Gomes told Abraham when asked if he was worried about getting plunked this weekend. “If they want to send a message, please let it be me. I want to go to first base.”