KANSAS CITY – Catcher Yan Gomes has been this way before. Not exactly step for step, but pretty close.
In 2016 he was about to come off the disabled list on Sept. 14 when he was hit by a pitch in a minor league rehab game and suffered a broken right wrist. The Indians were headed to the postseason and Gomes made it back in time to make all three postseason rosters as the Indians reached Game 7 of the World Series.
Gomes had to be thinking some of those same thoughts Saturday night as he sat in the X-ray room at Kauffman Stadium waiting to hear the verdict on his mangled right thumb.
“To be honest with you, I’m sitting in there thinking there’s no doubt my thumb is broken,” said Gomes. “Just by the way it looked.”
The Indians, who clinched the AL Central on Sept. 15, played their second last game of the regular season Saturday night against the Royals. In the third inning, Gomes tried to throw out Adalberto Mondesi on an attempted steal of second base after Alex Gordon swung and missed a Corey Kluber pitch.
But the ball didn’t make it to the mound because Gomes hit Gordon’s bat with his right hand.
“I was very worried,” said Gomes. “I looked at my hand. Grabbed my stuff and (headed for the locker room). I said to myself, “This is broken. Good thing it wasn’t.”
Said manager Terry Francona, “It was bleeding all over the place, but I think we dodged a bullet.”
X-rays were negative. Gomes needed two stitches in the thumb. He left the locker room following the 9-4 loss to the Royals with his thumb bruised and bandaged.
“All I can do is wait for the swelling to go down,” said Gomes.
Like most catchers Gomes has been hit by bats on all sorts of back swings. But this was something new.
“It’s never happened to me before,” said Gomes. “I’ve never done that on a backswing before. I’ve been hit with plenty of bats. But I’ve never hit a bat.”
Gomes hit the top or cup of Gordon’s bat. Some hitters use bats with a scooped out top. It can leave a sharp edge at the top of the bat.
“He got a couple of stitches, but it’s just a contusion and the doctors feel like in a couple of days, he’ll get the swelling out of there,” said Francona. “He could play with the stitches, but I think they think he can have them out of there by Tuesday or Wednesday.”
This has been Gomes most consistent season at the plate. He’s hitting .266 (107-for-403) with 26 doubles, 16 homers and 46 RBI. He has a .762 OPS, which ranks second among AL catchers with at least 300 plate appearances.
More importantly, he’s been a consistent producer at the bottom of the lineup.
The Indians open the ALDS against Houston on Friday at Minute Maid Park. Kluber will be on the mound for Game 1 and if Gomes can’t catch, the job will go to Roberto Perez.