Yan Gomes, severely-missed catcher of the Cleveland Indians, could be back as early as next week according to Indians in-game reporter Andre Knott. During last night's 2-0 win against the St. Louis Cardinals, Knott revealed that Gomes could begin his rehab assignment as early as this weekend with the Lake County Captains, playing at DH, which would put him on track to rejoin the Indians sometime next week.
Initially slated to miss 6-8 weeks as a result of a sprained MCL suffered on April 11th, Gomes is already well ahead of schedule for his return. Prior to the injury he was mostly a non-factor in the 5 games he's played in 2015, tallying only 3 hits in 20 at bats. Gomes was instrumental in the Indians winning season last year however, finishing the year batting .278/.313/.472 with 21 home runs, a 4.6 WAR, and a Silver Slugger award.
Precisely what impact a catcher has on a pitcher's success is still up for debate, but 2014 Cy Young winner Corey Kluber is said to be missing Gomes, and the two have been attached at the hip in the dugout during games. Other than last night's historic 18 strikeout performance, the Klubot has not been his cyborg-like self since Gomes was injured.
Filling the offensive void left by Gomes hasn't been easy either, as the mix of Roberto Perez and Brett Hayes has been ineffective to say the last. Perez has struggled at the plate and is currently clinging to an 83 wRC+ and 3 home runs. His struggles have been even worse as of late as he's 1-23 in the month of May with his sole hit coming last night. Hayes, who has served mostly as a personal catcher for Trevor Bauer, has been equally ineffective with a 62 wRC+ and 2 home runs.
Gomes returning could give some life to the back-end of the Indians lineup which has struggled mightily this year, even as the top three of Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, and Michael Brantley have found their stride. Here's hoping he comes back healthy and ready to go.