"He's going so fast through this," Francona said. "I think the trainers are like, 'It shouldn't be this fast,' but he's been kind of an animal, which I don't think is shocking. I don't know if you can ever make somebody heal quicker, but if hard work and intensity, if that means something, which I'm sure it does, he's going to be better quicker than he's supposed to be."
After Gomes sprained his knee on a play at the plate against the Tigers on April 11, the Indians projected that it would likely take 6-8 weeks for the catcher to make his comeback. Less than three weeks since sustaining the injury, Gomes has initiated baseball activities and Cleveland plans on adding even more to his program in the coming days.
Francona said that Gomes will travel with the Tribe for its upcoming series in Kansas City (Tuesday-Thursday) and the team will have the catcher do more baseball-specific drills at Kauffman Stadium.
"It's a good feeling when you have a guy that's that good that cares that much about coming back," Francona said. "He wants to travel, because he wants to be with his teammates. Those are things that maybe help me feel better when you need a little bit of help."
Along those lines, Gomes actually drove to Detroit to join the team during its series there this past Saturday and Sunday.
"How about that? That kind of picked me up," Francona said. "I know when I saw him in the dugout that morning, I was kind of fired up."
In 135 games last season, Gomes hit .278 with 21 home runs, 25 doubles and 74 RBIs for Cleveland, earning a Silver Slugger Award for his performance. Prior to the knee injury this season, the catcher appeared in only five games, posting a .150 (3-for-20) average. While he has been sidelined, Roberto Perez has served as the Tribe's starter behind the plate.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.