Cincinnati Reds: Is It Time for Chris Heisey To Take Jonny Gomes' Job?

Cliff EasthamSenior Writer IIMarch 23, 2011

CINCINNATI - AUGUST 29:  Chris Heisey #28 of the Cincinnati Reds runs the bases during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park on August 29, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Reds won 7-5. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Let me preface this article by saying that Jonny Gomes is one of my favorite players on the Reds.

I am wondering if being "unofficially" awarded the left-field job prior to the start of camp hasn't sapped the slugger of his hunger.

He is presently batting a woeful, team-worst .158 with two HR and only five RBI.

With the outfield talent at camp this season, it would strike fear into me if I were Gomes.

Dave Sappelt
, in his second spring with the club, is leading the team with 18 hits and a BA of .545 and an OBP of .556.

Chris Heisey
, who is beginning his second season with the Reds, is batting .317, leads the squad with four HR and is second in RBI with 10.

Jeremy Hermida
, who spent last year with the Red Sox and A's, is batting .385 with three HR.

Fred Lewis
, an offseason pick-up from the Blue Jays, is having the same trouble that Gomes is in terms of offensive production.

Gomes' intangibles are extraordinary. He has more hustle than anyone on the team and his leadership in the clubhouse helps make the team what it is.

He is a scrapper, a fighter and is unaccustomed to things being handed to him. It is what makes him hungry and what makes him who he is, a tenacious bulldog who will fight anyone for the next chew toy thrown anywhere near him.

I did not say that Dusty Baker had promised him the job. I said that it has "unofficially" been awarded to him pre-camp.

I am afraid that has ruined his spring performance.

With that being said, and I realize this is just spring training, Gomes is more than likely hearing the hoof beats of the young herd coming up behind him.

The Reds will host the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park when the season begins a week from Thursday.

I can't help but think if he doesn't start hitting soon, he may be benched before the season progresses very far.