DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jonny Gomes definitely will be available for Opening Day, as his appeal hearing has been scheduled for April 4 in New York -- after the Rays' opening series in Baltimore.
The Rays right fielder/designated hitter received a two-game suspension with a $2,000 fine for his part in a bench-clearing brawl against the Yankees on March 12. He appealed the suspension through his agent.
"I'm happy to have the hearing," Gomes said. "The main thing is I want to be a part of Opening Day."
After the Rays play three in Baltimore, they will move on to New York to play the Yankees beginning April 4. Gomes did not have any feeling about when his services might be missed most.
"Either way, it's a division team we're playing -- you always want to run it out there against a divison team," Gomes said. "But you make your bed, you have to lie in it."
Gomes does not know who will hear his appeal.
"I've never gone through it, and hopefully, I don't have to go through it again," Gomes said. "But we'll see how it works out. Best case scenario, probably cut [the suspension] in half. Whatever they do, I'll take it. I'll give them my side of the story, then they can make their decision."
Rays manager Joe Maddon said the team can't worry about which games Gomes will miss.
"Primarily, he might miss a start against the Yankees," Maddon said. "... I don't know which is the better series to miss. ... We'll just go along with whatever decision is made. I'll be fine with that. We'll just have to make some adjustments."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.