CHICAGO: It won’t be long before Yan Gomes returns to the bright lights of downtown Columbus.
No matter how you frame his dilemma, returning to Triple-A is not Gomes’ first choice. But Lou Marson no longer is trying to function with a stiff neck, so he will rejoin the Indians today. On Wednesday, Marson will be activated from the disabled list, and Gomes will be optioned to Columbus.
Much as manager Terry Francona might like to have Gomes in the lineup, he is not going to keep three catchers. So it will be Carlos Santana No. 1 and Marson No. 2.
Francona and others in the Tribe organization view Gomes as a future everyday catcher, not a guy who waits to play once or twice a week.
“We’ve talked to Gomes about it,’’ Francona said Monday. “He doesn’t need to be sitting around here not playing.’’
Gomes has gotten to play while he’s been with the Indians, because both Santana and Marson were recuperating from relatively minor injuries. In six games, Gomes is batting .211 in 19 at-bats.
But that does not give a true picture of his time at the plate. Of his four hits, two are home runs and one is a triple that would have been a home run in most ballparks. Gomes happened to hit in Houston, where the center field fence is 436 feet from home plate.
“But that was my first triple in the big leagues,’’ Gomes said, who has no regrets that his drive could have been a home run at Progressive Field, among other ballparks.
Tribe deep thinkers liked Gomes’ workmanship at the plate, which is the biggest reason he was included in the trade of Mike Aviles from the Blue Jays for hard-throwing reliever Esmil Rogers last November.
Gomes broke into the majors by playing in 43 games with Toronto last year. He batted .165 in his first 79 at-bats but hit .368 in his final 19, all in September.
But there is more to Gomes than his hitting.
When Francona was asked about his ability to call a game, probably the skill that takes a catcher the longest to learn, he said, “He’s better than his experience. He understands pitchers and has established relationships.’’
Gomes also has thrown the ball well, cutting down both runners who have tried to steal on him.
‘‘His throwing has been outstanding,’’ Francona said. ‘‘He’s got quick feet and a quick transfer.’’
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.