Gomes hustling his way to leadership role

Catcher impressed Francona by running out grounder

Gomes hustling his way to leadership role

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Yan Gomes continues to sprint his way into a prominent leadership role.

On Wednesday, the catcher hit a home run in the sixth inning of the 5-3 victory against the Cubs, but it was his maximum effort down the baseline after hitting a routine ground ball to second base in the second inning that had the most impact on his manager and his teammates.

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"This is our catcher. He hits it, and he runs to first like his pants are on fire," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "And if you are ever going to give someone a pass, it's probably going to be the catcher, but he knows how important that is. …The way you run the bases sets the tone for how you are going to play the game, and he's so good at that. [Jason] Kipnis is another one. I don't want to ever take that for granted. Although, you want it and you expect it, when you get it consistently, it's really good."

Gomes has four hits in his first 12 at-bats of Cactus League play this spring. He hit .231 with 22 doubles with 12 home runs and 45 RBI in 95 games for the Indians last season.

"It's not just because of how it looks," Francona said. "It will help us win a game, and you never know when it's going to be, and that's why you can't just do it sometimes. He'll run a guy into an error at some point.

"Everybody notices it I'm sure. It makes it easier when you are talking to young players when one of your best players is playing the game like that."

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.