CLEVELAND -- Yan Gomes was potentially one pitch away from being cleared to return to the Indians. Now, Cleveland's snakebitten catcher is being forced to wait until next year.
On Saturday, Indians manager Terry Francona noted that Gomes is expected to miss six to eight weeks after sustaining a non-displaced fracture in his right wrist. The catcher was hit on the hand by a pitch in his final plate appearance in his last Minor League rehab game with Double-A Akron on Wednesday.
Gomes, who has dealt with a series of setbacks throughout this season, was previously scheduled to come off the disabled list ahead of Friday's game against the Tigers. Instead, the catcher met with a hand specialist on Friday to gain more clarity on the injury. Gomes does not need surgery.
Rather than returning for Cleveland's final push toward the postseason, Gomes will once again be stuck on the sidelines. The catcher has been on the DL since sustaining a separated right shoulder in a fall at first base on July 17 in Minnesota. That injury came one at-bat after he ended an 0-for-27 slump, and one day after his teammates held a mock sacrificial ceremony to lift Gomes' spirits in light of his offensive struggles.
Two seasons removed from winning an American League Silver Slugger Award, Gomes has hit .165 with eight home runs, 32 RBIs and a .512 OPS for Cleveland this year. Last season, the catcher hit .231 in 95 games, while overcoming a knee injury.
"I think it's an understatement that a few things have gone wrong," Francona said on Friday. "I think when those types of things happen, and they do happen, I get to see how hard he worked to come back. When guys get challenged, it's nice to see that he doesn't tuck his tail and run.
"If this is something that takes a while to heal, he's going to continue to work," Francona said. "That's what you're looking for. Things do happen. Things are going to continue to happen. We're glad that we have fighters who want to come back and be every bit as good or better than they were."
Gomes began a Minor League rehab assignment earlier this month and bounced between Triple-A Columbus and Double-A Akron for nine games during each club's respective postseason run. The catcher hit .333 (9-for-27) with one home run, three walks, five RBIs and nine runs scored in that span.
In the fifth inning of Akron's Eastern League championship series with Trenton, Gomes was hit on the right hand by a pitch from Will Carter. That ended the prospect of Gomes being activated on Friday to catch ace Corey Kluber in a critical contest against the AL Central-rival Tigers.
"I get proud of them," Francona said of players like Gomes. "Gomer [was] trying to come back through all of this. I don't think anybody would have said anything had he not come back from the shoulder, but he worked so hard that he kind of willed himself."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.