CLEVELAND (AP) — The Indians didn’t take long to dip deep into their catching reserves. They had no choice.
Cleveland placed backup catcher Lou Marson on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a neck strain sustained in a home-plate collision in Tampa.
The move came one day after starter Carlos Santana bruised his left hand when he got crossed up catching a pitch from closer Chris Perez in the ninth inning of the home opener.
With Santana expected to be sidelined for a few days, the Indians recalled catcher Yan Gomes from Triple-A Columbus and selected the contract of catcher Omir Santos from the Clippers.
Gomes, acquired in a trade from Toronto in November, started Tuesday night’s game against the New York Yankees.
The multiple catching moves delayed the expected activation of designated hitter Jason Giambi, who will be added to the roster once Santana can at least be used as a backup.
Santana caught one of Perez’s pitches on the “meat” of his left hand, below the thumb. X-rays were negative and Indians manager Terry Francona said Santana was lucky not to have been more seriously injured.
“He’s got a good bruise and nothing more, so that’s good,” Francona said. “If it had hit him in the thumb, that could have been worse so we probably caught a break.”
Marson was bowled over Saturday night by Rays center fielder Desmond Jennings. Marson, who managed to hang onto the ball and tag Jennings out despite being knocked flat on his back, did not suffer a concussion. He was making progress and replaced Santana during the final inning Monday.
However, Francona didn’t think Marson looked comfortable and decided to recall Gomes immediately.
“It’s part of my job to watch and we talked to him extensively,” Francona said. “The tough one there is he probably would be ready in less than two weeks, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know you’ve got to have a catcher and you’ve got to have a backup. When Lou got hit the other day, he got hit so hard and we tried to play it out.
“I’m glad it happened late in the game because when we watched him I was not comfortable with that.”
Losing Santana is a tough blow to Cleveland’s lineup. He’s batting .500 (13 of 26) with two homers and five RBIs. He went 5-for-5 on Sunday, when the Indians hammered AL Cy Young Award winner David Price and blanked the Rays 13-0.
“Every time something happens that can be a negative, you try to turn it into a positive and that’s what you do here,” Francona said. “Santana is off to a great start and hopefully it’s just a couple days, maybe three. And in the mean time we’ll get a look at Gomes.”
Gomes batted .407 (11 of 27) in 15 games during spring training.
Giambi has not been on the roster this season. The 42-year-old will be a part-time DH against right-handers and pinch-hit once he’s activated.