KANSAS CITY -- Indians catcher Yan Gomes dropped to a knee, inspected his bleeding right hand and immediately introduced another layer of uncertainty for the club ahead of the American League Division Series.In the third inning of the Tribe's 9-4 loss to the Royals on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium,
KANSAS CITY -- Indians catcher Yan Gomes dropped to a knee, inspected his bleeding right hand and immediately introduced another layer of uncertainty for the club ahead of the American League Division Series.
In the third inning of the Tribe's 9-4 loss to the Royals on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium, Gomes sustained a right thumb contusion and laceration in a freak play behind the plate with six days remaining until the ALDS against the Astros (Game 1 is on Friday at Minute Maid Park). Gomes, who hit his hand on the bat of Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, received two stitches, but X-rays came back negative for any structural damage.
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Now, the Indians will wait to see how their All-Star catcher heals over the next handful of days.
"It's just a contusion," manager Terry Francona said. "And the doctors feel like in a couple days, he'll get the swelling out of there and all that stuff. He could play with the stitches, but I think they think they can have them out of there by Tuesday or Wednesday. Again, I'm sure he's going to be sore for a few days, but it looks like he's going to be OK."
Backup Roberto Perez, who took over in the third inning, would assume the starting job if Gomes were to miss any time. This is a similar situation to 2016, when Perez moved into the starting role for the postseason after Gomes sustained a fractured right wrist in September. Rookie Eric Haase is currently the third-string option.
Beginning on Monday, the Indians have four days off leading up to Game 1 of the ALDS.
While Gomes and Perez are plus defenders, framers and game-callers for the AL Central champions, the former is currently in the midst of a standout campaign overall. In 112 games this season, Gomes is hitting .266 with 16 home runs and a career-high 26 doubles, along with a .313 on-base percentage and a .449 slugging percentage. He entered Saturday hitting .317/.346/.508 in 34 games, dating to Aug. 1.
"As tough as that is," Indians ace Corey Kluber said of potentially losing Gomes for any period of time, "if need be, Roberto's been in this position before and he's been called upon to catch every day. If that's what's asked of him, I think he's ready to handle it, too."
With none out in the third, Gomes came up firing to second base when Raul Mondesi sprinted from first on a stolen-base attempt. Gordon swung at the pitch from Kluber, but the bat lingered over the plate for a moment on his backswing. Gomes was unable to avoid the bat and he hit his fingers on the wood at full force, sending the baseball flying errantly over the infield.
Gordon was ruled out on batter's interference on the play, forcing Mondesi to retreat to first base.
After falling to the dirt, Gomes shifted to his feet, tossed away his mask in frustration and was quickly met by head athletic trainer James Quinlan. They made a prompt exit, while Perez scrambled to get his gear on to enter the game.
"It's never happened to me before," Gomes said. "I've never done that on a backswing before. I've been hit with plenty of bats, but I've never hit a bat. There's nothing you can do. I just have to wait."
The results of the X-rays were welcomed news.
"I was worried," Gomes said. "To be honest with you, I'm sitting in [the X-ray room] thinking, 'There's no doubt my thumb is broken,' just by the way it looked."
Francona was hopeful that Gomes can still be ready for the ALDS.
"We kind of dodged a bullet there," said the manager.
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 Facebook.