CLEVELAND — Yan Gomes completed a comeback even he doubted was possible.
Given little chance to play in the postseason after breaking his right hand last month, Cleveland’s catcher made the club’s postseason roster and will play in the American League Division Series against the Boston Red Sox.
It’s an amazing recovery for Gomes, who was days away from returning to the lineup after missing two months with a separated right shoulder when he was hit was a pitch and broke his hand.
“It’s been a roller coaster of emotions, man,” Gomes said Wednesday. “I went from sitting in a hospital room with my hand broken, not going to lie, crying my eyes out because I’m not going to be part of the team. But then once I got my stuff together, I was like, ‘Ya know what, I can try to make a comeback,’ got to play a couple games and to be put on the roster is pretty rewarding for me and I’m just going to try to do my best to help our team any way I can.”
Gomes’ hand isn’t completely healed, but that’s not going to stop him now, not with a chance to play in the postseason for the second time in his career.
“I’m just going to tape it as tight as we can and hopefully it stays together,” he said. “But I can tell you, I’m going to give 100 percent every time.”
When Gomes broke his hand on Sept. 14 while playing for Double-A Akron, it appeared his season was over.
Doctors told him it could take up to two months to heal, but after picking up a ball and throwing it, Gomes dedicated himself to doing everything he could to get back on the field.
“Once I first started throwing the ball around, I’m like, if I can flick it without noticing, it doesn’t hurt as bad,” he said. “The only thing was starting to hit. The first time I hit, it didn’t feel very good. The second time, I saw some progress. This was three days after. The hand is still broken, there’s still going to be some pain, but they told me, ‘Look, if you can tolerate it, it’s not going to get any worse.'”
He returned to the lineup in the season’s final week, but only played a few innings in the field.
But then, with an at-bat that seemed pulled from the script of a feel-good movie, Gomes connected for a home run on the first pitch he faced Sunday in Kansas City. The shot electrified his teammates, who have been pulling hard for him to get back.
“I’m really happy for him as an individual,” Game 1 starter Trevor Bauer said. “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.”
Indians manager Terry Francona, who is carrying three catchers on his ALDS roster, isn’t sure how much Gomes will play.
“I don’t think it’s probably fair to ask him to be a starting catcher and catch nine innings,” he said. “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, which is certainly catching and throwing, knowledge of the staff, so we can use that. He’s not limited there. And we can use that.
“If it grows into more, that would be good.”