GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians feel fortunate to have a pair of catchers who are both capable of serving as a starting option in the big leagues. Given that situation, Roberto Perez will be considered the backup to Yan Gomes only in title. Perez will see his fair share of time behind the plate this season.
"We value Roberto a lot, and we're not going to let him sit," Indians manager Terry Francona said Thursday. "So you'll see him play earlier than maybe he has in the past, or something like that. We won't be as cautious in pinch-running, because we know we have a very good defensive catcher, whichever one we go to. Things like that."
In each of the past two seasons, Perez filled in for Gomes due to injury and not only gained valuable experience, but he formed a solid rapport with Cleveland's pitching staff. That has created an environment in which the Indians' pitchers enjoy pitching to either Gomes or Perez, both considered plus defenders.
Francona said that is a unique situation.
"You never hear somebody say, 'I'd rather throw to him,'" Francona said. "They're comfortable throwing to both of them. You don't see that very often. You may not hear about it, but you don't see it very often."
The manager added that he does not have a firm plan in place for dividing the innings between Gomes and Perez, though. As the Indians learned last year, when both Gomes and Perez missed significant time due to injuries, the best-laid plans can evaporate quickly.
"There's no plan," Francona said, "because I just don't think you know what's going to happen."
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.