Gomes feeling good since returning from DL
KANSAS CITY -- When most injured catchers pass the recovery milestone of back-to-back starts, they don't always end up pushing their legs into extra innings like Indians catcher Yan Gomes did on Sunday.
When the Tribe closed out a 6-3 victory over the Mariners in 12 innings, it had been the second game and 21st inning that Gomes had spent behind the plate in 24 hours -- and his first consecutive starts since sustaining a sprained right MCL in April that put him on the disabled list.
But as far as feeling unusual, Gomes indicated the extra playing time only reinforced how close he feels to normal again.
"We were trying to play it off as seeing if I could get my legs under me first," Gomes said of Sunday's win. "Even though it ended up being an extra-innings game, I still felt really good. I'm really excited about that."
Gomes injured his knee in an April 11 loss after Tigers outfielder Rajai Davis slid hard into Gomes' right leg at the plate. An MRI later confirmed the MCL injury and projected Gomes would miss six to eight weeks.
Less than three weeks later, though, Gomes resumed baseball activities and even traveled with the team to Kansas City for the May 5-7 series. He returned after a six-week absence on May 24 and says he has felt "100 percent."
"I checked with him in that second game," manager Terry Francona said before Tuesday's series opener against the Royals. "I kept watching him, and if we'd gotten to a point where the game kept going, if he made the last out or something, I might have taken him out just because ... but he said he was OK."
Gomes said the next step for him is either learning to play with the brace or reaching the point where he no longer needs it, but Francona is still waiting for Gomes' numbers to return offensively.
In five games prior to Tuesday, Gomes was batting .158 (3-of-19) with one RBI and six strikeouts. His numbers prior to the injury weren't any better, 3-for-20 with a double and five strikeouts.
"Sometimes guys come back and they get four hits," Francona said. "You just never know. I think just think with Gomes, you know he can hit, he's a good hitter. He has been a little bit off, which is not to be unexpected."