Tribe optimistic Gomes will play in ALDS

September 30th, 2018

KANSAS CITY -- The Indians feature multiple contenders for both the American League's Cy Young Award and MVP trophy this season. On a talent-rich roster, catcher does not exhibit the type of flash that steals the spotlight, but he has been a steady source of reliability.

Losing Gomes for an extended period of time would be a tough blow for the AL Central champions, making Sunday's optimistic forecast about the catcher's status a welcomed development in Cleveland's clubhouse. One day after a freak play led to a right hand injury for Gomes, manager Terry Francona said the catcher should be fine for the AL Division Series against the Astros.

"The doctors, trainers and Gomer all think he's going to be OK," Francona said prior to Sunday's regular-season finale against the Royals. "So, that's really good news."

In the third inning of Saturday's 9-4 loss to Kansas City, Gomes attempted a throw to second base when sprinted away from first. On the play, swung at the pitch from Tribe ace , and the Royals outfielder's bat lingered over the plate. On the throw attempt, Gomes' right hand hit the end of the bat at full force, resulting in a laceration and bruising on his thumb.

Gomes initially thought he broke his thumb, but X-rays taken on Saturday night came back negative for any structural damage. The catcher was out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the Royals, but Francona did not rule out getting Gomes some action in the scheduled intra-squad game during Tuesday's workout at Progressive Field.

"We'll see," Francona said. "It would be great for him, if he could, but we're not going to hurt him to do it."

In 112 games this season, Gomes has hit .266 with a career-high 26 doubles, along with 16 homers, 48 RBIs and a .762 OPS. Dating back to Aug. 1, the catcher has hit at a .320 clip with an .856 OPS in 35 games for the Tribe. Per Baseball Prospectus, Gomes ranks seventh in MLB in blocking runs above average (1.6), 14th in fielding runs above average (8.5) and 16th in framing runs above average (6.9)

ALDS rotation plans

Francona already made it known that ace Kluber and righty were the projected starters for the first two games of the ALDS against the Astros. The manager confirmed as much on Sunday, noting that Kluber would take the ball in Game 1 on Friday and Carrasco would follow suit in Game 2 on Saturday.

The Indians have yet to announce their plans for Game 3 (Oct. 8 at Progressive Field). The two leading candidates are and Mike Clevinger, but there is a chance that one of them will be made available out of the bullpen for Game 1 or Game 2. That could influence the alignment for Game 3 and a potential Game 4.

"I think we know what we're going to do and everything," Francona said. "But, I just think we'll wait to kind of explain it after we get through [Sunday's game in Kansas City]. I think things will be [clearer]."

Worth noting

• Utility man (hit in the head with a pitch in the eighth inning of Wednesday's game against the White Sox) remains in MLB's concussion protocol but continues to increase his activity level on a daily basis. Francona remains optimistic that Gonzalez will be cleared to take part in Tuesday's intra-squad game in Cleveland.

• Outfielder (on the disabled list since July 26 due to a right hip injury) has been training in Arizona but will meet the Indians on Monday in Cleveland. Naquin is scheduled to play in Tuesday's scrimmage, giving the medical staff a chance to gauge his progress and viability as an insurance option for the playoffs.