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Gomes finding offensive stride after knee injury

PITTSBURGH -- Yan Gomes is currently fighting the temptation to glance up at the scoreboard to see if his season statistics are showing improvement. The Indians' catcher knows he needs to worry less about the numbers and focus more on each individual at-bat.

Gomes feels that approach is the best way to get his offensive season back on track.

"This game is so frustrating and so hard," Gomes said on Sunday morning. "And the more and more I think about looking at the board and seeing if I'm getting there, or if I'm going to get talks from you guys where I'm struggling or something, it's just some stuff that I can't even worry about, man.

"It comes down to good at-bats or hard outs or bloopers -- whatever. It's going to work out the way it's supposed to work out. From my career, I know I'm a good hitter. I know things are going to turn out."

Lately, Gomes has looked to be turning things around, too.

According to PITCHf/x data, Gomes has had seven batted balls with exit velocities of at least 100 mph, dating back to June 16. The catcher had no such batted balls in his five April games prior to the right knee injury that sidelined him for six weeks. Gomes had only two such batted balls in his five games in May and only two over the first two weeks of June.

The recent stretch of hard-hit balls, which have included a few hits and some tough outs, could be a sign that Gomes is regaining his usual comfort in the batter's box.

"You've just got to take it and know it's a good sign," said Gomes, who had hit .333 (7-for-21) in his past five games, entering Sunday. "I'm seeing the ball well."

Gomes, who won an American League Silver Slugger Award last season, has hit only .216 with three home runs, four doubles and nine RBIs through 33 games for Cleveland. Indians manager Terry Francona said the slow start is understandable, considering the catcher is still working his way back from the knee injury and dealt with neck issues last month.

"When guys miss time, it's just not as easy as just putting their name in the lineup," Francona said. "There's a lot of times where they're inconsistent. You're fighting, not only do you have an injury, but your body, you're not used to playing every day. ... It's hard, especially for a catcher."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.
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