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Gomes' arm drawing rave reviews from Tribe

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Indians manager Terry Francona's eyes widened at the mention of the play on Sunday morning. One night earlier, catcher Yan Gomes threw out Tyler Saladino from his knees. The quickness and strength displayed in only a few seconds blew Francona away.

"Santiago-esque. That was unbelievable, man," Francona said prior to Sunday's game against the White Sox. "That was his only way to throw it, because the [pitch] took him there and the guy had such a good jump. That's some serious arm strength. That was sick."

CHICAGO -- Indians manager Terry Francona's eyes widened at the mention of the play on Sunday morning. One night earlier, catcher Yan Gomes threw out Tyler Saladino from his knees. The quickness and strength displayed in only a few seconds blew Francona away.

"Santiago-esque. That was unbelievable, man," Francona said prior to Sunday's game against the White Sox. "That was his only way to throw it, because the [pitch] took him there and the guy had such a good jump. That's some serious arm strength. That was sick."

Francona was referencing former Major League catcher Benito Santiago, who made throwing out basestealers from his knees look easy. Former Indians catcher -- and current first-base coach -- Sandy Alomar Jr. also pulled off the feat on occasion during his career. Gomes brought back memories of both, with his pinpoint throw to catch Saladino trying to steal second in the third inning of Cleveland's 7-0 win on Saturday.

Gif: Gomes from his knees

Alomar said throwing from the knees is not always quicker than shifting to the feet, but it can work if the pitch is elevated and the catcher uses good mechanics. With Tim Anderson batting Saturday night, Carlos Carrasco fired a high fastball, Saladino got a good jump toward second base and Gomes nabbed his fifth would-be basestealer of the season.

"It's hard," Alomar said. "But, [it can be done] if you have the proper mechanics, if you're turning as the ball is coming, and you get a proper pitch -- lower pitches are more difficult, pitches up at the chest are a lot easier. But, it's still a lot of strain on your shoulder. You only do that when you really need something really quick."

Tweet from @MLBastian: Sandy Alomar Jr said throwing from knees isn't always faster, but good form plus elevated pitch can make it work. Gomes showed that on Sat. pic.twitter.com/9bZzmPXMEO

According to Statcast™, Gomes had an exchange time of 0.6 seconds on the play, representing the seventh-fastest time on a caught-stealing at second among Major League catchers this season. Entering Sunday, Gomes (two) and Boston's Christian Vazquez (three) were the only catchers to have multiple plays within the top 10 exchange times on caught-stealings at second base this year.

Through 13 games played, Gomes has hit .175 (7-for-40), but Alomar is encouraged that the catcher has not let that affect his defensive play.

"That's something to be proud of," Alomar said, "because if you're not performing offensively, then you have to make sure you're doing it defensively. That's what keeps guys in the lineup, and that's going to help our staff overall."

Francona echoed that sentiment.

"You don't have to hit when you're a catcher," he said. "I know everybody wants to, and it's helpful, but you can make an impact on a game in so many ways."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.