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Gomes exits with right shoulder injury

July 17, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS -- Baseball can be fun, and also very cruel.That sums up the past 24 hours for Indians catcher Yan Gomes, who exited Sunday's 6-1 win over the Twins in the fifth inning with a right shoulder injury. After ending a long hitless drought with a third-inning double -- a

MINNEAPOLIS -- Baseball can be fun, and also very cruel.
That sums up the past 24 hours for Indians catcher Yan Gomes, who exited Sunday's 6-1 win over the Twins in the fifth inning with a right shoulder injury. After ending a long hitless drought with a third-inning double -- a breakthrough that elicited a celebration by his teammates in the dugout -- Gomes tumbled hard at first base on a groundout in the fifth. Backup catcher Chris Gimenez entered the game in Gomes' stead and hit a clutch two-run single in the sixth inning.
"My heart goes out to the guy," Gimenez said. "He literally cannot get a break right now."
The Indians announced that Gomes, who was carted off the field, will travel Cleveland for a meeting on Monday with Dr. Mark Schickendantz to learn more about the extent of the injury. Manager Terry Francona said it is "likely" that the Indians will activate catcher Roberto Pérez (right thumb surgery in May) from the disabled list, considering he has built up to nine innings in a Minor League rehab assignment.
Francona noted that Gomes will be placed on the disabled list come Monday.
"Until we get him looked at, it's just a shoulder injury," Francona said. "We're obviously going to DL him, but we'll have more information [Monday]."
With one out and the Indians holding a 1-0 lead in the fifth, Gomes chopped a pitch from Twins starter Kyle Gibson to the left side. Third baseman Eduardo Núñez gloved the grounder, but his throw across the diamond pulled first baseman Kennys Vargas off the bag. Gomes had to quickly maneuver around Vargas, who made a sweeping tag as the catcher lunged for first base.
Gomes appeared to land awkwardly on the base before falling hard and rolling to the ground in foul territory. With Gomes in obvious pain, Francona and James Quinlan, Cleveland's head athletic trainer, hustled to the field to tend to the catcher. Quinlan worked to wrap Gomes' right arm in a sling as the catcher held an ice pack on his shoulder.
"When I looked up, I saw the first baseman kind of reaching out, so I tried to kind of avoid it," Gomes said. "And he tagged me and kind of threw me off-balance. When I stepped on the bag, it just jammed, and that's when I kind of catapulted and landed on my shoulder."
After several minutes, a cart was brought to Gomes to help him leave the field amidst cheers from the audience at Target Field. Gomes said he separated his shoulder, and the catcher also appeared to be favoring his left knee. After the win, though, both Gomes and Francona said the knee was not expected to present any lingering issues. Francona added that Gomes passed tests on the knee during the game.
"The knee's fine. It hurt really bad at first, but it was more just because I jammed it," Gomes said. "It just seemed like my whole body hurt at the time. When I got to sit down for a second, that's when I noticed my shoulder was starting to hurt. Then I looked over and [it didn't look right]. I tried to move my hand and it kind of hurt."
The setback continued what has been a seemingly constant run of misfortune this season for Gomes. The catcher's woes in the batter's box even led his teammates to hold a mock ritual prior to Saturday's game. During the light-hearted ceremony, Cleveland's players -- wearing colorful capes -- prayed to the baseball gods to free Gomes of his struggles. They even had Gomes slice a rotisserie chicken as a fake sacrifice.

"I don't think it worked," Gimenez said.
Gomes maintained his sense of humor, too.
"I thought the sacrifice was supposed to be a good thing," quipped the catcher.
In the 11th inning of Saturday's loss to the Twins, Gomes' made a critical error at the plate that allowed the game's winning run to score. That came after an 0-for-4 showing on Friday that included a pair of highlight-reel diving stops by Minnesota's defense.
During his first at-bat on Sunday, though, Gomes finally enjoyed a brief moment of good luck. The catcher chopped a pitch back up the middle to Gibson, who stuck a leg out and kicked the baseball into left field. Gomes hustled into second base for a double, while his teammates cheered in the third-base dugout. Pitcher Danny Salazar, who was wearing a blue cape, shook two maracas with his left hand and a tambourine with his right as Gomes smiled at second base.

"We had rattles and capes in there and we were going nuts," Gimenez said. "It was like, 'All right. That was it. That was exactly what he needed right there.' And then for something like this to happen, it was almost like his last little bit of glory."
"Everybody was so happy for him," Francona said. "You could see the pure joy of guys for him. It's just, things like this happen. You don't know when it's going to happen, but it happens and, hopefully, you're prepared so it doesn't get in the way of what you're trying to do."
That double ended an 0-for-27 skid for Gomes, who is batting .165 on the season with the Majors' lowest batting average on balls in play (.190) among players with at least 250 plate appearances.
The smiles transformed into concerned expressions in the fifth, as Cleveland's players watched Gomes leave the field. Gimenez -- one of the leaders behind Saturday's fun-filled ceremony for Gomes -- was seen crouching in the dugout with a somber look as he waited to replace Gomes in the game.
Gimenez then delivered a critical two-run single for the Tribe in the sixth.
"We've got something good rolling right now." Gimenez said. "Obviously, [losing Gomes] is a big downplay, because of what he does for the pitching staff and the running game and stuff like that. Now, it's up to myself and whoever else it is to pick up the slack."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.