Sunday, April 15, 2007


When Carlos Gomez made the leap from low-A Hagerstown to Double-A Binghamton to open the 2006 season, the center fielder initially struggled, hitting .205 in April and .219 in May before catching fire.

Gomez has not experienced a similarly sluggish start upon arriving at Triple-A New Orleans. The 21-year-old speedster has recorded hits in the Zephyrs’ first eight games and is tied for the Pacific Coast League lead with five steals. He’s hitting .357 and already has four doubles and a triple in 28 at-bats.

"That’s the good thing about him, he makes adjustments,” New Orleans manager Ken Oberkfell said. “What is he, 21? He’s going to make mistakes. But he makes adjustments. It’s been eight games, but he’s been great.”

When Gomez races Jose Reyes during the winter in the Dominican Republic, he wins the 50-yard dashes seven out of 10 times. Gomez has stolen a combined 105 bases the past two years, and is again on a torrid pace this season.

“He’s getting good jumps and he’s got great speed,” Oberkfell said. “And we’re aggressive. We want him to run. He picks his spots and he’s not afraid.”

With Gomez in center, flanked by Lastings Milledge and Ben Johnson, the Mets have perhaps Triple-A’s best outfield. However, Johnson injured his throwing shoulder diving for a ball in Memphis on Thursday and was placed on the DL with a sprained shoulder that figures to sideline him for a few weeks.

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