Gomes helped off field after spraining right knee
Catcher hurt on Davis' slide at the plate in ninth
CLEVELAND -- Third-year catcher and 2014 Silver Slugger Award winner Yan Gomes had to be helped off the field by two members of the Cleveland Indians medical staff in the ninth inning of Saturday's 9-6 loss to the Tigers on Saturday.
Gomes, 27, sustained a right-knee sprain when Detroit center fielder Rajai Davis slid into his ankle, which was planted on home plate, on a forceout. He will have an MRI on Sunday morning.
"It's always tough to see a teammate carried off or injured or anything, especially Yan," Indians reliever Cody Allen said. "He's such a leader and a captain on this team. He's such a vital part of what we're doing here, not only on the field, but in the clubhouse. We hope he's OK."
Gomes tried to put weight on the leg as trainers were coming out to attend him, but he collapsed to the ground. After a brief delay, Gomes was helped off the field and replaced by Roberto Perez. Gomes put little to no weight on the leg while being helped off the field.
The Indians signed the Brazilian-born catcher to a six-year, $23 million contract extension shortly before the start of the 2014 season. He earned his money and then some, batting .278 with 21 home runs and a .785 OPS -- tops among all American League catchers. He is also regarded as one of the game's best defensive catchers, throwing out 31 of 97 would-be basestealers last season, and showing plus skills as a pitch blocker and receiver.
If Gomes were to hit the disabled list, which certainly seems like a possibility, it's unclear what the immediate backup-catcher option for the Indians would be.
First baseman Carlos Santana started his Major League career as a catcher, but he has a long history of defensive struggles behind the plate and his catching days appear to be behind him.
Indians manager Terry Francona was noncommittal when asked after the game whether Santana would be considered as a backup option. The Indians also likely need to call a reliever up from Triple-A after using six relievers on Saturday. The only reliever not to appear, Nick Hagadone, pitched the previous three days.
"We need to probably go through a lot of stuff," Francona said. "Obviously, our pitching is a little thin, so we need to go look at a lot of stuff."
Looking through the organization for backups, three Minor League options become clear. The first is 22-year-old prospect Tony Wolters, who is the only catcher on the team's 40-man roster. However, Wolters is still at Double-A and has been inconsistent offensively throughout his career. Despite glowing reviews about his defensive abilities from both scouts and the numbers, Wolters has only been catching for the better part of two years after transitioning from the middle infield.
The other two possibilities are veterans Brett Hayes, 31, and Adam Moore, 30. Hayes received the bulk of the time behind the plate -- after Gomes and Perez -- in Spring Training, and hit well. He's received Major League playing time in each of the last six seasons, most recently with the Kansas City Royals.
The Indians' 40-man roster is currently full, however, so if either Hayes or Moore were to be added to the team, someone would have to be dropped.