CLEVELAND -- After breaking a bone in his hand in the final start of his rehabilitation assignment in the minor leagues last month, the Cleveland Indians thought catcher Yan Gomes was out for the remainder of the season.
However, Gomes worked his way through the pain and surprised everyone by returning to the Indians’ lineup for the final game of the regular season. And after hitting a two-run home run in his first at-bat Sunday, Gomes showed enough to make the roster for the American League Division Series against the Boston Red Sox.
“Yeah, I'm surprised,” Indians manager Terry 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.
“That's part of why I was talking about some of the trainers and medical people. And Yan, I think he willed himself to be a part of what's going on. The other day in Kansas City, when he hit the home run, to see the reception in the dugout for him, I'm guessing that made a lot of the work worthwhile, and now, to be a part of this too.”
As to what Gomes’ availability will be for the postseason, Francona thinks that will be determined on an on-going basis.
“I don't know that we're going to be able to script it out,” Francona said of Gomes’ postseason availability. “I don't think it's probably fair to ask him to be a starting catcher and catch nine innings. I think what we'd usually try to do during the season, and try to do now, is take what the players do well, try to maximize that.”
Gomes missed more than two months of action because of a dislocated right shoulder, and the broken bone in his hand.
Gomes let all of that frustration go in the form of a home run in his first at-bat of a 3-2 win over the Royals that locked up home-field advantage against the Red Sox in the first round of the postseason.
“I talked to him after that first happened,” Indians Game 1 starter Trevor Bauer said. “And I was like, ‘How are you doing?’ And he said, ‘My hand is broken.’ ‘I don't mean about your hand, I mean like mentally, you've been on kind of a roller coaster ride.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I'm kind of banged up mentally.’
“So to see him come back and make the postseason roster, I'm really happy for him as an individual. Obviously, he's going to help our team. There's no question about that, but just on a personal side, to have him be able to come back and be a part of something that he was a big part of all year and over the past couple of years that he's been here, it's really great to see for him.”