Minus beard, Jonny Gomes reports for new Red Sox season

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Only a handful of reporters spoke to Jonny Gomes when he arrived at spring training last season. The expectation was for Gomes to be a part-time player in left field.

He proved to be that and so much more. On a team thirsting for purpose, Gomes became one of the leaders. He also embraced his new city after the Boston Marathon bombings, playing a prominent role in the team’s response.

Gomes hit a modest .247 with 13 home runs and 52 RBIs. But two of his hits were walk-off home runs and he made a habit of leaping catches, amusing comments, and bold pronouncements. Even his scraggly red beard turned into a team-wide bonding mechanism that helped define the World Series champions.

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