CLEVELAND: Lou Marson began a rehabilitation assignment in Akron on Wednesday night, but don’t expect him to return to the Indians any time soon.
“He’ll catch tonight, get a day off tomorrow, then he’ll go to Columbus,” manager Terry Francona said, reciting the first few days of Marson’s rehab schedule.
Asked when he might be activated from the DL, Francona said: “I would say it will be weeks as opposed to days. He’s been out a pretty long time now. The idea is to have him back playing the way he can. His strength is catching and throwing.”
Francona was saying that Marson’s ability to get his edge back as a catcher isn’t a matter of squatting behind the plate for a few innings to get used to seeing fastballs and sliders.
“You can’t get it all back in a week,” Francona said. “He’s only going to catch every other day [for now]. So part of it will be how he feels.”
Marson has been on the disabled list with a strained shoulder since April 25. At the time the injury occurred, it did not appear that Marson would be sidelined for more than a month. It’s not as if he was prepping to catch every day when he returned. As Carlos Santana’ backup, Marson usually started once a week, twice at most.
When Marson went down, the Tribe didn’t know how far Yan Gomes had come both as a hitter and a catcher. The truth is, Francona hasn’t missed Marson because of Gomes’ steady play behind the plate. He also has contributed to the offense, an area of the game in which Marson struggles.
That is not to say the Indians are prolonging Marson’s stay on the DL to buy time in making a decision on the immediate future of both Marson and Gomes. But to say the least, Marson’s absence has been anything but inconvenient for Francona.
“Any time you run into a situation where you have too many good players, I’ll take it,” Francona said. “That’s a nice problem to deal with.”
The Indians do not have room on the roster for three catchers. Santana obviously isn’t going anywhere. The downside to keeping Gomes is that his development could be slowed if he sits on the bench five days a week. So if Marson is optioned to Triple-A Columbus, Francona will need to find ways to get Gomes in the lineup at least three times a week.
But as it stands now, no decision will have to be made for weeks.
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.