Gomes becomes first Brazilian-born major leaguer

Associated Press  |  Last updated May 17, 2012
Not only did Yan Gomes become the first Brazilian-born player to reach the major leagues, but his debut also came against the most famous baseball team in the world. Born and partially raised in Sao Paulo, Gomes was promoted to the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday when slumping first baseman Adam Lind was sent down to Triple-A Las Vegas. Gomes struck out in his first at-bat against New York Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes, but lined a single to right field for his first big-league hit in the fourth. The ball was taken out of play and saved for him as a memento. Gomes said he was on ''an emotional roller coaster'' after learning Wednesday he was headed to the majors. The 24-year-old infielder flew overnight from Las Vegas to Toronto, too excited to sleep. ''It's a great feeling, absolutely a great feeling,'' Gomes said after taking batting practice and fielding grounders at third base, where he started in place of suspended Brett Lawrie. Gomes overcame long odds to reach the majors after spending his early childhood in soccer-mad South America. ''Growing up in Brazil, you would never think of [playing in the majors],'' he said. ''Coming out here and having it, it seems like it happened so fast, so I definitely have to take it in. I'm really proud of it. It's an honor to represent my country.'' Gomes fell in love with baseball after a chance encounter his father had on a trip to the grocery store, bumping into a Cuban baseball coach who was putting together a team and looking for youngsters to play. Yan's father was persuaded to bring his son to a tryout. ''Probably the best thing that he did,'' said Gomes, who took to the sport immediately. Gomes can play third base, first base and catcher. He batted .359 with five home runs, 12 doubles and 22 RBIs at Las Vegas. ''He's a hard-nosed player,'' Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. ''I'd say he's kind of a blue-collar type of guy that has never had anything given to him. His ascent to the major leagues has been clearly earned on his part. Toronto's 10th-round draft pick in 2009, Gomes moved to the United States with his family when he was 12. He's only returned to Brazil twice in the 12 years since, but said he still keeps in contact with some childhood friends. ''He was one of the brighter stories in spring training for us,'' Farrell said. Gomes went to high school in Miami and attended the University of Tennessee, where he was a teammate of Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia. Gomes also attended Barry University in Miami. Wearing jersey No. 68, Gomes was especially pleased to start his career against the 27-time World Series champion Yankees. ''Growing up in Brazil, the Yankees are one of the only teams you know about, so this is kind of a crazy dream,'' he said. ''Can't wake up right now.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Mets’ Jeurys Familia suspended 15 games for domestic violence incident

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge won’t make Opening Day roster?

Arkansas athletics fear new gun law could threaten their SEC membership

LeBron on Cavs after loss to Spurs: ‘It’s a delicate time right now’

These nine MLB prop bets should be money in the bank for 2017 season

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Vin Scully talks preservation of his Polo Grounds call, first season outside MLB booth

Odell Beckham Jr. once took serious measure to boost ‘Madden’ rating

Report: Raiders could play in San Antonio while Vegas stadium is built

Browns sound willing to give Josh Gordon another chance

Vance Joseph challenges Demaryius Thomas to not ‘ease into games’

Kerr on being fastest coach to 200 wins: ‘I know how lucky I am’

The 'So, is this the last ride for the Dead Man?' quiz

2016 MLB playoff teams that won't make it back this season

Box Score 3/29: Free hats (Caps fans only)

The 'Are you mentally prepared for 'One Shining Moment'?' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Serge Ibaka can't connect

Can the Padres' Christian Bethancourt really succeed at pitcher and catcher?

The Raiders will forever belong to Oakland

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Box Score 3/28: Wilt's last game

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Best, worst and hard to stomach MLB offseason moves

The 28 craziest ballpark foods for the 2017 season

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'So, is this the last ride for the Dead Man?' quiz

2016 MLB playoff teams that won't make it back this season

The 'Are you mentally prepared for 'One Shining Moment'?' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Serge Ibaka can't connect

Can the Padres' Christian Bethancourt really succeed at pitcher and catcher?

The Raiders will forever belong to Oakland

Best, worst and hard to stomach MLB offseason moves

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker