CLEVELAND — It was tough to tell who was more pleased with catcher Yan Gomes’ addition to the All-Star Game — Gomes or his teammates.
Gomes earned his first All-Star nod Saturday, replacing Tampa Bay’s Wilson Ramos, who will miss the game with an injury. Gomes is the first Indians catcher since Victor Martinez (2009) and first Brazilian-born player in major league history to make the All-Star team.
Cleveland ace Corey Kluber, who will join Gomes in Washington, D.C., but will not pitch, tweeted: “So pumped for @Yan_AGomes ! He works his tail off for us pitchers & it’s great to see all that hard work rewarded.”
Gomes found out he made the All-Star team in strange fashion when the Indians made the announcement on the scoreboard as he came to the plate in the ninth inning of Saturday’s 5-4 loss to the Yankees.
Right-hander Mike Clevinger was in the clubhouse after pitching six innings when he heard the news.
“I mean we kind of erupted in here as if we just tied the game when we saw it,” he said. “That speaks volumes for what he’s done for not just me, but every pitcher in here, just being a good teammate all-around and what he brings to the table. Especially putting up with me and (Trevor Bauer) has to be worth something.”
The Indians found out Gomes had been added an inning prior to his at-bat against Aroldis Chapman, but kept him in the dark. As he stood in the batter’s box, his teammates cheered his selection from the dugout.
Gomes wound up striking out.
“When I went out to take the pitcher out in the eighth, he was hitting third (in the ninth) and I said, ‘You’re gonna have a good at-bat,’” manager Terry Francona said.’” He looked at me and I said, ‘Just wait, you’re gonna have a good at-bat.’ It would have been nice if he would have capped it off with a home run.
“Still, he’s very deserving and even in a tight game like that where you’re kind of biting your nails, to watch his teammates (cheer him on) … that felt good.”
“I thought it was something completely different. I thought he had a vision or something,” Gomes said of his eighth-inning conversation with Francona. “That was kind of a weird at-bat. I just had a little blackout feeling. It’s just a weird way to find out.”
Gomes is in the midst of his best offensive season since winning a Silver Slugger award in 2014. He’s batting .247 with 10 homers and 31 RBIs in 68 games.
Gomes’ addition gives the Indians six All-Stars, matching reigning World Series champion Houston for the most and giving Cleveland its most since 1999.
Francona confirmed that the next step for left-handed reliever Andrew Miller (right knee inflammation) will be a rehab assignment. Miller faced hitters during a live batting practice session at Double-A Akron on Saturday.
Francona said Miller could start the rehab stint over the All-Star break, likely at Triple-A Columbus.
Francisco Mejia didn’t get a hit in his season debut Saturday, but Francona was still impressed with the mega-prospect’s plate appearances. Mejia went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks, including one against Chapman that put the game-tying run on base.
“I thought he had good at-bats,” Francona said. “He lined out to right, he hit the ball up the middle. That was a really nice play to take a hit away and he had a couple walks. I thought he had good at-bats.”
Mejia was available off the bench Sunday but didn’t see action. He is expected to be optioned back to Columbus today.
Melky Cabrera went 4-for-5 with a double and three RBIs in Columbus’ 6-3 win at Louisville on Friday. Cabrera entered Saturday batting .379 (11-for-29) with a double, triple and RBI over seven games for the Clippers since re-signing with the Indians.
On this date
Sunday was the 28th anniversary of Albert Belle’s MLB debut for the Indians in a 7-1 victory over the Rangers at Municipal Stadium. Belle started in right field and went 1-for-4, collecting his first hit and RBI in his first at-bat in the first inning off Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan.
Belle batted .295 over eight seasons in Cleveland and ranks second in franchise history with 242 homers and a .580 slugging percentage.
- Michael Brantley entered Sunday with the fifth-highest home batting average (.346) in the American League (sixth in the majors). Brantley’s 64 hits at home through Saturday were the most in the majors, while his 18 doubles at home ranked second.
- The Indians have a 23-9 record in series finales — 14-3 at home.