TORONTO — Brazil has long been known for its soccer standouts, but Barry University’s Yan Gomes is set to become the first Brazilian-born player to appear in a major league game after being called up by the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.
Gomes, a 10th-round draft pick of the Jays from 2009, is batting .359 with 12 doubles, five home runs and 22 RBI in Las Vegas. He has also played at first base and third base this season, in addition to his catching duties.
After playing rookie and short season ball in 2009, Gomes started the 2010 season with Class-A Lansing and finished it with Hi-A Dunedin. In 2011, he spent most of the season with New Hampshire’s Fisher Cats and had a brief stint with Las Vegas, where he has played all year this season. In his four years in the minors, Gomes managed a .283/.334/.471 slash line with 77 doubles, 29 home runs, and 168 RBI in 917 at-bats.
Gomes was a consensus NCAA Division II All-American at Barry in 2009 after transferring from the University of Tennessee. He helped lead the Bucs to their first-ever Sunshine State Conference title, earning Player of the Year honors in both the conference and the South Region. He hit .405 with 17 doubles, 21 homers and a school-record 92 RBI, while scoring 69 runs. He split time between third base and catcher.
Gomes is just the second Buccaneer to make it to the major leagues, joining Mets and Marlins reliever Henry Owens.
To make room for Gomes, the Jays sent struggling first baseman Adam Lind to the minors, demoting him to Triple-A Las Vegas. He is batting .186 with six doubles, three home runs and 11 RBIs in 34 games. He has just six hits in 13 games this month.