PITTSBURGH -- Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez reported for duty Saturday with a clear head after struggling to concentrate Friday night because of complications on the home front, illustrating the challenges that sometimes face foreign-born players and their families.
Gomez received urgent messages from his wife, Gerandy, after a visit in Milwaukee with a new pediatrician. Their baby boy, Yadiel, had been given a clean bill of health when he was born March 29, but the doctor on Friday was concerned about Yadiel's right hip. An X-ray confirmed that the joint was loose, a common problem with newborns, Gomez learned, known as developmental dysplasia.
Doctors told him the issue often resolves itself with time. Sometimes the baby is fitted with a brace. In the worst case scenario, surgery is necessary.
Gerandy Gomez heard "surgery" and grew very concerned. It wasn't until the middle of the Brewers' win over the Pirates -- after Carlos had struck out twice, snapped a bat in half by slamming it into the ground and committed an uncharacteristic bobble in center field -- that he learned her concerns had been eased.
"Our pediatrician in the Dominican explained to my wife exactly what it is," Gomez said. "It's not bad. It's nothing, like, I'm going to be worried about. A lot of babies are born like that.
"But yesterday was a tough time. My wife was in tears, she's thinking and crying, and I can't do anything because I'm here."
Gomez collected himself enough to hit a booming home run in the fifth inning and a run-scoring single in the sixth.
"It's because he's so darn talented," manager Ron Roenicke said.
But Roenicke could tell something was wrong.
"Before the game, I watched him and I knew something was different with him," he said. "I can see that. He hasn't been doing that stuff [with the broken bat]; all of a sudden it comes out and it's like, 'Wow.'"
Roenicke added: "When you're talking about your little baby and you hear some news that's pretty upsetting, I understand why you get upset about it."
The language barrier can be particularly difficult in medical matters, Gomez said, but "you get used to it when you know you are in good hands. But if you have kids, when kids have something, you get upset. Like, 'Give it to me.' The most important thing for me is my family. When I'm not at my job, I give my complete time to my family. … The only things that I love are my belief in God, my family and my work. Those are the only things that make me happy, and when something is wrong with that, it drives me crazy."
By the end of Friday night, Gomez had his peace of mind restored.
"I called her, she was calm, the baby was fine," he said. "It's all good."