CLEVELAND: The life of a catcher is filled with bumps and bruises, but this is ridiculous.
The Indians were forced to call up two catchers from Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday, because Carlos Santana and Lou Marson suffered incapacitating injuries.
Santana was struck in the meaty area below his left thumb in the ninth inning Monday, and his hand was too sore to catch. Lou Marson was involved in a collision at the plate Saturday night at Tampa Bay and sustained a stiff neck.
Manager Terry Francona inserted Marson into the lineup after Santana got hurt against the New York Yankees and didn’t like what he saw.
“We obviously had a long night last night,” Francona said. “But we worked through everything. Carlos’ X-rays were the good news; he only has a bruise and nothing more. But when I put Lou in the game, I wasn’t real comfortable with that.”
Consequently, Yan Gomes and Omir Santos were called up from Columbus. To make room for the two catchers, Marson was placed on the 15-day disabled list and Jason Giambi, scheduled to be activated Tuesday night, remained on the DL.
“Lou probably will be ready in less than two weeks,” Francona said. “But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out you have to have a catcher.”
The best guess by Francona is that Santana can return to the field in two or three days.
“When we’re comfortable that Santana can at least back up at catcher, we can activate Giambi,” Francona said.
Gomes came to spring training as an unheralded utility player, who spent most of his time behind the plate. But his offense (.407 average, five doubles, one homer) made him an instant hit with the Tribe staff.
Francona repeatedly said, “We want to see if Gomes can be an everyday catcher.”
Gomes was in the lineup Tuesday night and batted ninth. In four games at Columbus, he batted .286 with two doubles and two RBI.
“The more we saw of him, the more we liked him,” Francona said. “I’m comfortable to let him start a game.”
Santos came to spring training as a non-roster invitee with a minor-league contract and batted .375 with four doubles and one home run. In two games at Triple-A, he was 0-for-3.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Santos, right-hander Robert Whitenack was designated for assignment, six days after he was claimed on waivers from the Chicago Cubs.