CLEVELAND -- A week ago, the assumption remained that Indians catcher Yan Gomes was done for the season. On Wednesday, Cleveland announced that Gomes will be a part of its roster for the American League Division Series against the Red Sox.
Gomes' incredible return from multiple injuries highlights the names included on the Tribe's 25-man roster for the ALDS, which is set to begin with Game 1 at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday at Progressive Field (TBS). With Gomes in the fold, Cleveland plans on carrying three catchers, meaning the pitching staff will consist of 11 arms (three starters and eight relievers).
"It's been a roller coaster of emotions," said Gomes, who sustained a non-displaced fracture in his right wrist on Sept. 14. "I went from sitting in a hospital room with my hand broken, and not going to lie, crying my eyes out, because I'm not going to be part of the team. But then, once I got my stuff together, I was like, 'You know what? I can try to make a comeback.'
"I got to play in a couple games, and to be put on the roster is pretty rewarding for me and I'm just going to try to do my best to help our team any way I can."
Indians manager Terry Francona said Gomes' swift comeback was unexpected.
"I'm surprised," Francona said. "I think we were being really honest about his chances and things like that. I didn't think it was fair to ever put it out there that there was a possibility, because by all rights he shouldn't have had a realistic possibility."
No surprises here. Bauer is scheduled to take the ball in Game 1, while Kluber, Cleveland's ace and a Cy Young contender, is slated to start Game 2 on Friday (4:30 p.m., TBS). Kluber could have started the ALDS opener, but the Indians opted to hold him back by one game due to the mild quadriceps strain he sustained on Sept. 26. This way, Kluber can stay on normal rest in the event the series extends to Game 5. Bauer would pitch on three days' rest if a Game 4 is necessary. Tomlin is Cleveland's probable starter for Game 3 on Sunday in Boston (4 p.m., TBS).
The only twist here would be the inclusion of Anderson, who can log multi-inning relief appearances. Once the Indians knew that Danny Salazar (right forearm) would not be ready to pitch in the ALDS, Anderson became a realistic option. Cleveland also opted to carry only one lefty, though Miller is far more than a specialist. The relief ace serves as a high-leverage weapon for manager Terry Francona, who does not have a designated closer. Allen gets the bulk of the saves, but the Indians do not have assigned innings for Miller, Allen or Shaw. Francona uses them when he feel it makes the most sense. Since Miller's arrival via trade on July 31, the main five relief arms (Miller, Allen, Shaw, Otero and McAllister) have combined for a 1.76 ERA.
Napoli and Santana, who each belted 34 home runs this season, alternate between first base and designated hitter. If a lefty is pitching, Santana typically hits out of the No. 5 spot behind Napoli, with outfielder Rajai Davis leading off. On days with a righty on the mound, Santana has been leading off, with Ramirez moving into the fifth hole. Ramirez has been one of the AL's top hitters with runners in scoring position, while ranking near the top of the league in Win Probability Added. Lindor and Kipnis have both enjoyed career years up the middle. Martinez is a switch-hitting utility player whose calling card is defense. He can offer emergency depth in the outfield, too.
Crisp assumes the roster spot previously held by Abraham Almonte, who is ineligible for the postseason. Francona featured multiple outfield platoons this season and that should continue in October. Chisenhall (right field) and Naquin (center) typically only start against right-handers, while Guyer (corner outfield) and Davis (left and center) get the bulk of their at-bats against lefties. Francona will not hesitate to pinch-hit in the middle innings with the outfielders on the bench if it makes sense in terms of platoon advantage.
Gomes sustained a separated shoulder on July 17 and then a non-displaced fracture in his right wrist in a Double-A rehab game on Sept. 14. At the time of the broken wrist, the catcher was given a timetable of return of six to eight weeks. Knowing he could not really injure his wrist further, Gomes pushed hard behind the scenes to return and started Cleveland's final regular-season game on Sunday. The catcher logged five innings behind the plate and launched a home run in his first at-bat. Gomes and Perez are above-average defenders, and the staff has enjoyed working with Gimenez in Gomes' absence. All three have labored at the plate, so Francona does not hesitate to pinch-hit for his catchers in the middle or late innings. With that in mind, carrying three catchers can lend itself to some in-game strategy.
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.