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Cubs catcher Yan Gomes staying 'true to God' during strong start to season

As a catcher, Yan Gomes’ primary concern is helping his team’s pitching staff navigate games. Any offensive production he provides is an added bonus.

The 35-year-old has contributed plenty with his bat for the Chicago Cubs so far this season though. Gomes is the only player on the team with a batting average above .280 and more than five home runs. His .282 batting average ranks fourth on the team, and his six home runs rank third. Last season, his first with the Cubs, he hit .235 with eight home runs in 86 games.

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On May 10, Gomes returned from a stint on the seven-day concussion injured list and hit a home run in his first game back.

Interestingly, Gomes developed a strong dislike for the Cubs after losing to them in the 2016 World Series when he was a member of the now-Cleveland Guardians.

“I did not like the Cubs for a long time. … It was a humbling experience,” he said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in March. “You’re watching that team celebrate on your field. I did not enjoy that because you’re going all the way into November and you’re doing all this and you’re playing for so much and yeah, you come home with an AL championship, but technically you came home kind of with nothing.”

The 2014 Silver Slugger Award winner and 2018 All-Star returned to the Fall Classic in 2019 with the Washington Nationals and got the World Series ring the Cubs had denied him three years earlier.

An even more important moment in his life took place in 2015 when Gomes — who is the first player from Brazil to reach the majors — attended his first Pro Athletes Outreach conference. He grew up Catholic and considered himself a Christian, but hadn’t really developed a personal relationship with God.

Gomes felt called to get baptized at the conference, and his perspective was transformed by the experience.

“I was outwardly a Christian,” he said while discussing his baptism on the podcast. “I was saying that I was a Christian. I knew that Jesus died for us on the cross for our sins. I knew that, but when that day happened, I knew that there was more than that. It was that relationship that was more important to Him, and that’s when my life changed.”

Currently in the middle of his 12th major league season, Gomes was recently praised by teammate Jason Steele for the leadership and wisdom he provides in the clubhouse.

“He’s just an unbelievable human being. He’s an unbelievable leader in the clubhouse,” Steele said. “I’m always looking to him for information about baseball and even everyday life. He’s an amazing human being.”

Gomes believes his faith helps him connect with his teammates and value them as people.

“It’s helped me be way more patient,” he said on the podcast. “It’s helped me see people for who they are. We’re all made in God’s image, and we’re all God’s creation.”

Having played for five different teams and caught countless different pitchers in his career, Gomes has learned how to keep his faith at the center of his life while building relationships with people from a variety of backgrounds.

“In clubhouses, there’s a lot of different personalities,” he said on the podcast. “But you’ve got to stay true to who you are, and you’ve got to stay true to God.”

Gomes hopes his offense and defense can help get the Cubs (19-24) out of the rut they’re in. They’ve lost five in a row, and have Thursday off before starting a three-game series in Philadelphia on Friday. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.

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