Yan Gomes dealing with hamstring tendonitis
The news could have been a lot worse for Cleveland Indians catcher Yan Gomes (above), who left Friday’s loss to Los Angeles with a sore right knee.
Gomes underwent an MRI exam after the game, and manager Terry Francona said Saturday that All-Star catcher has been diagnosed with hamstring tendonitis. He will not be in the starting lineup for a few days.
“If it lingered longer, then we’d have to maybe think about the (disabled list), but I think the way it sits now, I don’t think we’re going to have to do that,” Francona said. “He came in feeling pretty good today.”
Gomes doubled in the second inning Friday and appeared to grimace as he pulled into second base. He played defensively in the third inning, but was removed in the fourth for pinch hitter Roberto Perez.
Francona said the hamstring has been bothering Gomes for a little while.
Gomes is hitting .243 with 11 home runs and 35 RBI in 79 games. His absence gives Roberto Perez, relegated to mostly only catching for Trevor Bauer this season, an opportunity to get a few more at-bats.
“I actually think it’ll be good for ‘Berto to know he’s going to play a couple days in a row,” Francona said.
If Gomes’ hamstring does not respond and he heads to the DL, Triple-A catcher Eric Haase, who has spent the entire season in Columbus, could be an option to take his spot on the roster.
Haase is slashing .240/.298/.434 with 14 home runs and 60 RBI in 97 games for the Clippers and has experience catching Shane Bieber and Adam Plutko as well as Andrew Miller who recently rehabbed in Columbus.
“Guys enjoy throwing to him because he cares so much about running the game and getting the pitcher through the game,” Francona said. “He may not have the arm that Perez or Gomes has, but he does such a good job behind the plate with pitchers that they all seem to like throwing to him.”
Taking Andrew Miller to the bank
Miller’s first outing in more than two months was a success Friday, but Francona says with time, he expects the ace lefty reliever to be even better.
“We’re certainly going to pitch him without trying to over-pitch him,” Francona said. “The more he pitches the better he’s going to be.”
Miller tossed a scoreless inning in the seventh, allowing one walk and recording a strikeout in his first big-league action since missing 72 games with right knee inflammation.
“He threw a real good breaking ball,” Francona said. “He didn’t locate his fastball, but he will. It’s kinda like putting money in the bank. You’ve got to keep putting it in there to get the returns.”
How do you solve a problem like Ohtani?
Francona was asked whether the club would reconsider its plan of attack against Los Angeles slugger Shohei Ohtani.
The rookie collected four hits, including his first two career road home runs on Friday, and entered Saturday’s game batting .643 (9-for-14) this season against Cleveland.
“No, I think we know what we want to do,” Francona said. “We’ve just got to do it better.”
Francona said the two homers Ohtani hit against Mike Clevinger on Friday were fastballs down and in.
“He can do with it whatever he wants (with that pitch),” Francona said. “We gotta stay out of that area.”
Asked whether he was surprised by the power that Ohtani can generate, Francona noted that there was a lot of “leverage behind that ball” Ohtani hit to the left field bleachers. And the 443-foot blast to right was no joke.
“He’s an interesting guy,” Francona said. “He’s got a chance to be pretty special.”
Josh Tomlin has rough rehab outing
Josh Tomlin, on the disabled list with a sore hamstring, got roughed up in his first rehab start Friday for Class AAA Columbus. Tomlin pitched two innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits including a pair of home runs. He struck out one batter and did not issue a walk.
Francona said that despite the glaring stats, Tomlin felt good physically, and that’s what the organization is focusing on — much as they did throughout Andrew Miller’s rehab outings.
“A month from now, whenever he’s pitching, nobody’s going to care that he got roughed up in a minor-league game,” Francona said. “I think it shows that you don’t just step in and you’re good. Even guys that are really good major league players and pitchers they need their repetitions and they need their confidence and they’ve gotta go through some things to get there.”
Francona balancing rest for Michael Brantley
Michael Brantley’s durability has been one of the only bright spots for Cleveland’s outfield this season. After missing parts of the last two years with a variety of injuries and undergoing multiple surgeries, Brantley rebounded this year to earn his third All-Star bid, and has ranked among the American League’s top hitters in multiple categories.
On Wednesday, Brantley was not in the lineup against Minnesota, getting a day off that was backed up by Thursday’s scheduled off day for the team. Francona was asked if it’s hard to balance playing Brantley against making sure the 31 year old is getting enough rest.
“I kinda know his body language now,” Francona said. “He’s never going to ask for a day off, which I kinda like. But I think I know him well enough now when he needs one. I don’t want to give guys days off when they don’t need them, because I think you can also get in the way.”
That’s not to say Francona isn’t mindful of Brantley’s workload, considering all he’s been through physically.
“I’d rather be a day too early than a day too late,” he said.
Yankees pay up for a pair of ex-Indians
The New York Yankees have acquired a pair of former Indians, spending cash in order to do so. Cleveland sent reliever George Kontos, who had been with Class AAA Columbus after he was designated for assignment last month, to New York for cash considerations on Saturday.
New York later acquired former Tribe utility infielder Giovanny Urshela from the Toronto Blue Jays for cash as well.
Kontos appeared in six games for Cleveland, posting a 3.38 earned run average in 5 1/3 innings. Urshela, who made a pair of costly errors in Game 4 of the American League Division Series last year at Yankee Stadium, spent parts of three seasons with the Indians after signing with the franchise as an undrafted free agent in 2008.