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New-look Gomes: Time for Sox to move on

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  February 18, 2014 02:15 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jonny Gomes started anew on Tuesday, arriving at JetBlue Park clean-shaven with the exception of a small soul patch beneath his lower lip. The wild man of 2013 looked years younger.

“A double take actually when he walked in the room,” manager John Farrell said.

Gomes entertained a few questions about shaving before rolling his eyes.

“I mean, it’s a friggin’ beard. No one died,” he said. “We’re going to be all right. The beard didn’t hit or throw a fastball all year.”

Yes, Gomes is eager to be finished with the trappings of 2013.

“This group of guys, from the players to the coaching staff to up above, is not willing and not wanting to sit on this title,” he said. “It’s cool right now, championship shirts and hats and whatnot. But I’ll tell you what, once that first pitch of the season starts, it’s pretty much thrown right into the archives. It’s old news coming up pretty soon.”

Outside of Mike Napoli, the Red Sox have abandoned their wooly beards and made changes to the roster. How this team defends its championship and develops a new personality will emerge in the coming weeks and months. Gomes is sure to be involved.

“How do you do it? If there was a way that book will be written,” Gomes said. “You can’t being back all 25-plus guys. You can’t practice all those magical walk-offs. … There has to be a whole new chapter, a whole new blueprint. We’ll do what we can to build a new identity.”

Gomes, 33, spent parts of 10 seasons in the majors before winning the World Series. That was his goal from the day he was drafted out of junior college in 2001.

The accomplishment merited a new tattoo on his torso, a cartoon-like drawing that included all the symbols of last season.

The ink is dry and the beard is gone. Now it’s time to think ahead.

“The goal was met; the goal was conquered,” Gomes said. “I guess I was extremely hungry to win a World Series title. Once you take a bite of it, that’s definitely what it’s all about.

“I guess my hunger turned to starvation now because I’ve got to do what I can to start collecting them.”

See the Globe or BostonGlobe.com on Wednesday for much more from Gomes.

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