KANSAS CITY -- A week ago, Indians manager Terry Francona said that catcher Yan Gomes is one player he believes could return if given a one-percent chance. Prior to Friday night's 7-2 win in the series opener against the Royals, Gomes officially defied the odds.The Indians announced that Gomes --
KANSAS CITY -- A week ago, Indians manager Terry Francona said that catcher Yan Gomes is one player he believes could return if given a one-percent chance. Prior to Friday night's 7-2 win in the series opener against the Royals, Gomes officially defied the odds.
The Indians announced that Gomes -- who was believed to be done for the season -- was activated from the 60-day disabled list. He sustained a separated right shoulder on July 17 and then a non-displaced fracture of his right wrist during a Minor League rehab game on Sept. 14, but Gomes continued to work behind the scenes with the goal of being ready in time for October. He entered Friday's game in place of Robert Perez behind the plate in the seventh inning.
"When they give you some hope," Gomes said, "you're going to take it and go as far as you can with it."
In order to vacate a spot on the 40-man roster, injured starter Carlos Carrasco was placed on the 60-day DL. Carrasco sustained a non-displaced fracture in his right hand on Sept. 17, when he was hit by a line drive off the bat of Detroit's Ian Kinsler. Carrasco will be wearing a cast for another two weeks and was not going to be able to pitch even if the Indians advanced deep into the postseason, per Francona.
At the moment, Gomes has only been cleared to play defense for the American League Central champions. In the hours leading up to Friday's game, he was behind the plate at Kauffman Stadium, throwing to each base in a pregame workout. Gomes also took batting practice on the field, but he has not been cleared to hit in games.
"He's not going to [hit] right away. He can, but he's not going to," Francona said. "But, I think just the fact that he can get in a game and play defense is exciting for him and us."
Perez and Chris Gimenez will remain the top two catchers, while third-string option Adam Moore is also on the roster.
Gomes, 29, was ready to be activated on Sept. 15, but he was hit on the right hand by a pitch in his final rehab appearance with Double-A Akron. He was initially given a timetable of six-to-eight weeks, but Gomes surprised the team with how quickly he felt fine with his throwing. Gomes said the training staff told him his particular injury was more about how much he could tolerate.
"They told me I couldn't hurt it any more," Gomes said. "They said try to push it as much as I can. Our trainers have done a tremendous job with it. I just kept working with it. I kept trying, kept trying and kept trying. It's feeling better. I just have to be able to tolerate some of the new things being added."
Through 71 games, Gomes hit .165 with eight home runs, 32 RBIs and a .512 OPS. While the 2014 AL Silver Slugger Award winner has labored in the batter's box this season, he has remained strong defensively both in terms of framing, pitch calling and controlling the running game. Gomes is also viewed as one of the core leaders within the clubhouse.
Francona admitted to being surprised by how swiftly Gomes was able to return.
"I mean, I knew there was a possibility," Francona said. "In fairness to him, I didn't ever want to ever come out and say that, because he probably shouldn't have been ready. The odds were stacked against him. If he didn't play again, I didn't want anybody to think that he [didn't try].
"I saw every day what he was trying to do. So, I would rather have him maybe surprise people, just because I didn't want to put him in a predicament."
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.