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Gomes building up to nine innings behind dish

Catcher expected to catch full game for Triple-A Columbus on Friday

CHICAGO -- Manager Terry Francona tried to put the brakes on his comments from Monday that catcher Yan Gomes could be back with the Indians very soon -- as in this week.

Gomes, who has been out since April 12 with a sprained MCL in his right knee, is on rehab assignment at Triple-A Columbus. He played five innings on Monday and is scheduled to play seven innings on Wednesday. On Monday, Francona implied that Gomes might be able to join the Indians as soon as Thursday or Friday.

The manager slightly backtracked on Tuesday.

"Well, he's closing in on it," Francona said. "I think that's stating the obvious, but in fairness to him, we probably need to get him out there nine [innings]. He probably doesn't feel like he needs to, but as bad as we'd like to have him -- and we do -- doing something a day or two early, that would be a bad mistake."

After his seven innings catching on Wednesday, the plan is to use Gomes as a designated hitter on Thursday and then play him a full game at catcher on Friday. If everything goes well, he then could join the big club over the weekend and probably play Sunday in the finale of a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds.

"I think when you really boil it down, we need to make sure that this kid has every chance to be not just healthy with his knee … you don't want another part of his body breaking down squatting for nine innings," Francona said. "There's some common sense that [trainer] James [Quinlan] used that I wasn't seeing."

John Jackson is a contributor to
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