Near return from DL, Indians catcher tests arm from behind plate at Triple-A
By Shane Jackson
CLEVELAND -- Indians catcher Yan Gomes is beginning one of the last stages of his rehab for a separated right shoulder.
Prior to Wednesday's clash with the Astros, Indians manager Terry Francona told the media that Gomes would be serving as a catcher for five innings with Triple-A Columbus in a postseason contest on Wednesday.
Gomes did just that, also going 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored for the Clippers. Gomes is scheduled to spend five innings behind the plate against Gwinnett on Thursday as well. Wednesday's game marked Gomes' first stint behind the dish during his rehab assignment.
"He did really well yesterday," Francona said on Wednesday. "They just didn't see any reason to not let him do it."
Gomes, who has been sidelined since mid-July, was originally slated to begin his return to the backstop toward the end of the week.
However, Francona said that Gomes had done well enough while throwing across the diamond on Tuesday at Progressive Field that the staff elected to bump up his return behind the plate.
"When I told you guys he was in line to catch soon," Francona said, "he had such a good day throwing to the bases that the medical people were fine with him catching tonight. So that's good."
Gomes was injured against the Twins on July 17, when he fell awkwardly in an attempt to avoid a collision with Minnesota first baseman Kennys Vargas while running out a grounder. Before his injury, Gomes had been struggling at the plate. He has hit .165 with eight homers and 32 RBIs in 71 games this season.
Still, the Indians would love for Gomes to return as soon as he is able. Gomes is eligible to be activated on Sept. 16, but he is going to have to prove he can hold his own behind the plate before he'll return to the big league club.
Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.