Terry Francona likes Cleveland Indians' catchers, but needs them to stay healthy

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Manager Terry Francona told reporters in Goodyear, Arizona Friday after the first day or workouts that he feels good about the Indians' catching situation with Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez.
Gomes finished third in Friday's endurance test for pitchers and catchers and Perez reported 20 pounds lighter than last year. Now they just have to stay healthy.
That was not the case last year when Gomes, coming off a strong 2014 in which he won the Silver Slugger award for American League catchers, suffered a knee injury in early April and missed six weeks. When Gomes returned, he had a tough time finding his swing, hitting .231 (84-for-363) with 12 homers and 45 RBI.
"You never know when a guy comes back (from injury) how he's going to do," said Francona. "There's no way to have a crystal ball.
"We've seen where guys get off to a great start and hardly had any spring training. We've also seen where guys miss time early and they seem to miss something. They miss that chance to get those at-bats and get in a groove."
Such was the case with Gomes.
"You could tell the whole year it just wasn't quite the same (for him)," said Francona. "I fall back on that's what good players do. They try to come back and play and we appreciate it. We knew his numbers were going to suffer a little bit because of it."
Tribe catcher Yan Gomes' knee injury revisited
New teammate Rajai Davisis the player who injured Gomes Corey Kluber Jersey, sliding into his right heel while scoring a run for the Detroit Tigers on April 12. Gomes was out until May 23.
Perez replaced Gomes and didn't play well early, but got better.
"When he started to catch every day, we weren't playing very well," said Francona. "I think he had a couple of minutes of saying, 'Oh, oh.' But to his credit he kept at it and really did a pretty good job.
"We're fortunate to have those two guys. In a lot of scenarios, Roberto is a front-line catcher and there's no doubt in my mind that some day somewhere he'll be an everyday catcher. But right now he needs to back up Gomer."
But Perez's role comes with an asterisk.
Roberto Perez draws interest from Atlanta
"We need him to treat spring training like he's the everyday guy Cleveland Indians Jersey," said Francona. "One, this is spring training and things happen. Two, it's best for his development. We're going to involve him more in scouting when he's not playing so we don't hurt his development."
Perez hit .228 (42-for-184) with seven homers and 21 RBI last season. He posted a .751 OPS.
The Tribe's two catchers controlled the running game. Perez threw out 39 percent (16-41) of the runners to challenge him to lead all big league catchers who faced at least 40 stolen-base attempts. Gomes threw out 31.6 percent (18-57) of the runners he faced.
Run, Cody, run:Right-hander Cody Anderson won the endurance test Friday for pitchers and catchers. Anderson has revamped his body for the second year in a row and the results showed.
The surprise second-place finisher was Dave Wallace, Akron's Class AA manager http://www.indiansfanshop.com/15-Indians_Michael_Brantley_Jersey.
"I guess that says a lot about Wally, but I did not want him to win," said Francona. "It would have cost me a lot of money."
The coaches were betting on players and Francona had Zach McAllister, who had a good showing last year. McAllister did not finish in the money.
"He said if he won he won he wouldn't have to make a road trip this spring," said Francona. "He doesn't have to worry about that now."
Finally: Position players are scheduled to report Sunday. The first full-squad workout is Tuesday.

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