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Gomes living up to his potential

Gomes living up to his potential

CLEVELAND -- The Indians jumped at the opportunity to acquire Yan Gomes over the offseason. They felt he had the potential to develop into an everyday catcher in the big leagues, and he has only solidified that belief with his play behind the plate.

Gomes can often be seen meeting with pitchers in the clubhouse, and on the field he has displayed solid game-calling ability to go along with a strong throwing arm. The 25-year-old -- acquired in a trade with Toronto in November -- played a variety of positions in the Blue Jays' system last season, but the Indians wanted him to focus solely on catching.

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"He's pretty eager to take in everything," manager Terry Francona said. "We saw that in Spring Training. Even with his lack of really catching a lot, he's really grasped game planning and things like that. He's understanding that his job is to get the pitcher through the game. There's a lot of things that impressed us, but that was one of them."

Entering Wednesday's game with the A's, Cleveland's pitching staff had combined for a 2.89 ERA over Gomes' 84 innings behind the plate. That's the fourth-lowest such ERA in the Majors among backstops wth at least 80 innings logged.

"He works hard at it," said righty Zach McAllister, who turned in 7 2/3 shutout innings with Gomes catching on Tuesday. "He's played a lot of positions in the Minor Leagues, but he takes a lot of pride in what he does back there. He wants to be successful."

The Indians also boast a 10-2 record when Gomes appears in a game.

"This spring we were really pleased, because we didn't quite know [what to expect]," Francona said. "We wanted to see him catch, because we thought we had a chance for an everyday catcher. You never pass up that opportunity. That's why we sent him to Triple-A [to start the season]. He's getting better fast. It's very exciting."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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