Gomes learned to play baseball and eventually pitch as a youngster in West Germany, where his father was stationed with the Air Force. A decade and a half later, he was tabbed the “closer of the future” with the Philadelphia Phillies. After setting up for Mark Leiter in 1998, Gomes got his chance to step into the stopper’s role in 1999 when Jeff Brantley succumbed to a shoulder injury. He saved 19 games that year, but was pushed back to a setup position when he fought with control problems early in May 2000.
After Gomes spent a month on the disabled list in 2000 with an elbow injury and a month in 2001 with a strained quad, the Phillies began a hunt for more reliable middle relievers. When they acquired Dennis Cook and Turk Wendell from the New York Mets in late July 2001, Gomes was sent to the San Francisco Giants for utility infielder Felipe Crespo.