Help could soon be on the way for the struggling Cleveland Indians’ pitching staff.
Once expected to be out for six-to-eight weeks, Gomes has ramped up baseball activities and could make his return to the Tribe sooner than expected. Just four weeks since the injury to his knee, Gomes spent this weekend practicing throws to second base and running bases before Sunday’s game in Cleveland.
"He’s flying through it (his rehab) and continues to do nothing but progress, but we have to let him progress still. He still has to kind of hit certain milestones, whether it’s squatting or starting to run the bases, or squatting and coming out and getting the bunt. He has to do all of those in a progression."
Barring any setbacks, Gomes will be evaluated in Cleveland again on Tuesday and the 2014 Silver Slugger Award winner could begin a minor-league rehab assignment in Triple-A Columbus as early as this week.
The first person in line to greet Gomes when he is finally cleared to return to major league games will likely be reigning Cy Young winner Corey Kluber. Since the start of last season, Kluber is 18-9 with a 2.39 ERA with Gomes as his catcher. He is 0-5 with a 5.13 ERA when pitching to other catchers. Kluber started this season 0-1 with a 2.63 ERA with Gomes behind the dish and, since Gomes went down with a right knee sprain, Kluber has gone 0-4 with a 6.10 ERA throwing to Roberto Perez.
Gomes is undeniably the safety blanket for a number of pitchers on Cleveland’s staff.
While he was off to a slow start offensively this season, Gomes hit .278 with 21 home runs and 74 RBIs in his first full season as the Indians’ starting catcher last season. In his absence, Perez has batted just .173 with 21 strikeouts and Brett Hayes has hit just .160.
The season is quickly spiraling out of control in Cleveland and Gomes could very well be the answer to a number of the Tribe’s early-season issues. And, fortunately, that answer could be coming soon.