Gomes will likely sit out World Baseball Classic

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Catcher Yan Gomes has yet not made a formal decision about participating in the World Baseball Classic, but he does know which way he is leaning.

As of now, Gomes is prioritizing his competition for a roster spot, and that likely means he will turn down the chance to suit up for Brazil next month.

"I still have to talk to some people," Gomes said on Monday. "But right now I'm leaning toward no."

Gomes, 25, has an opportunity to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster as a bench option for catcher, first base, third base, left field and designated hitter. And as Brazil's first native-born Major Leaguer, he feels he is still honoring his country by concentrating on his big league career.

"I want to make sure I'm focusing on the big leagues now," he said. "A lot of people say, 'You're playing for your country' and everything, but I feel like I'm contributing more to the country by being an established big leaguer.

"I know I'll probably take some heat, but it's my career. I'm still a huge supporter of Brazil baseball."

In fact, Gomes suited up for Brazil in November and helped the team clinch a spot in the tournament.

Last season, Gomes hit .328 with 13 home runs, 29 doubles and 59 RBIs in 79 games for Triple-A Las Vegas, and .204 with four homers and 13 RBIs in 43 games for Toronto. His big league numbers were pieced together between five stints with the Blue Jays.

Manager Terry Francona has made it clear that the team will support Gomes no matter what he decides to do. Gomes does not need to make an official decision until the final rosters are announced on Feb. 20.