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Indians notebook: Yan Gomes makes case to be regular catcher next season

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CLEVELAND: Conventional wisdom says that Yan Gomes will become the Indians’ everyday catcher in 2014, and that Carlos Santana will spend most of his time at designated hitter and as a part-time first baseman, when Nick Swisher needs a break.

Manager Terry Francona had high praise for Gomes.

“Gomes is doing so well, it just makes sense that when he plays that we use him at catcher,” Francona said. “Carlos can play first and DH, but fortunately for us, we have two everyday catchers.”

Many fans might forget that Gomes came to the Tribe last winter as a utility player, who not only can catch but also play third, first and the outfield, positions that do not appear to be part of his future.

Asked about his proficiency at handling pitchers, Francona said: “He’s done a terrific job … It’s fun to watch guys get better.”

MASTERSON UPDATE — Forget about Justin Masterson missing just one start. He won’t even pick up a ball for a week.

“The first six or seven days we just want it to settle down, then we’ll see where we’re at,” Francona said.

Masterson left his start Monday with a strained left oblique.

LET’S GET NERVOUS — No matter what kind situation or crisis arises, a manager believes that showing a poker face is his best strategy for keeping players on an even keel.

Francona admits to being nervous at times, but that’s OK, as long as he doesn’t pass his anxiety onto the team.

“I get nervous during a game,” Francona said. “But I think it’s a good nervous, because I want my guys to win so bad. I come in early and prepare for the game, and that helps me relax and enjoy the game.”

PRIZED SOUVENIRS — Eight-year-old Niko Lanzarotta returned to Progressive Field on Saturday to collect two souvenir baseballs.

Lanzarotta, afflicted with Cerebral Palsy, met Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis before the Aug. 24 game against the Minnesota Twins and asked each of them to hit a home run. Both did.

The two fans who recovered the home run balls, Megan Gillombardo and Mike Larkin, decided that Lanzarotta should have them and contacted Tribe officials. The presentations of the baseballs to Lanzarotta occurred on the field before Saturday’s game.

FINAL HONOREE — Left-handed reliever Kyle Crockett, 21, was selected by the Tribe as winner of the organization’s final Minor League Player of the Week Award for making two scoreless relief appearances to end the season.

Crockett, the Indians’ fourth-round pick in this year’s draft, moved from Class-A Mahoning Valley to Class-A Lake County and finally to the Double-A Aeros in lightning fashion. For the Aeros, he worked 10⅓ scoreless innings, walking two and striking out nine.

ROSTER MOVES — Outfielder Tim Fedroff and shortstop Juan Diaz, designated for assignment last week, cleared waivers and were outrighted to Triple-A Columbus.

— Sheldon Ocker


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