CLEVELAND -- Even while Yan Gomes was on the disabled list, Indians manager Terry Francona raved about the catcher's leadership and presence when around the team. On Sunday, Gomes was finally able to bring those attributes back to the field for the Tribe.
"I was happy for him," Francona said prior to Monday's game against the Rangers. "You could tell how excited he was. He worked really hard to be back. He pushed the entire time, and you could tell he was really enjoying it."
Gomes -- sidelined since April 12 due to a sprained right knee -- returned from the 15-day DL for Sunday's 5-2 win over the Reds, but the catcher was out of the starting lineup for Monday's opener against Texas. Francona said Gomes was feeling fine, but the team wants to be careful about not pushing him too hard too soon.
Francona indicated that the current plan is to alternate the 27-year-old Gomes and catcher Roberto Perez behind the plate for the next five or six games. The manager noted that the club will rely on Gomes and the Indians' medical staff in determining when to begin using the catcher in consecutive games.
"When Gomes starts to get to where he can go back to back, we'll do it," Francona said. "He'll have a lot of say-so in that."
During Sunday's victory, Gomes went 0-for-4 with one run scored, but the manager noted that "he's not really quite up to probably where he's going to be as a hitter," following only six Minor League rehab games. With Gomes behind the plate against Cincinnati on Sunday, Cleveland pitchers allowed two runs on six hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
Most importantly, Gomes felt fine after Sunday's game and on Monday.
"He's good," Francona said. "I think all the things we talked about kind of rang true. He worked so hard and he's in such good shape that he feels pretty good."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.