MIAMI -- Yan Gomes was excited about having the chance to head to Miami last season as a member of the Blue Jays. It was going to mark the first time that the young catcher's family had the chance to watch him play in a big league game in the city where he attended high school and college.
"And then they optioned me to Triple-A right before the trip," Gomes said.
A little more than a year later, Gomes finally got his homecoming.
Gomes was born in Brazil, but the catcher attended Miami Southridge High School and Barry University in Miami Shores. For this three-game series against the Marlins, the 26-year-old catcher will have his family, one of his two brothers and a host of friends in attendance.
"It's definitely cool to be home," Gomes said. "I got to hang out with my parents last night. That was exciting. And I'm definitely looking forward to batting practice, because I know a lot of my buddies will be out here. It's definitely exciting being out here."
Through 46 games this season, Gomes has hit .298 with seven home runs, 18 extra-base hits, 26 RBIs and an .859 on-base plus slugging percentage as Cleveland's backup catcher. Defensively, he has thrown out 57 percent of would-be base stealers and helped guide the Tribe's staf to a 3.80 ERA in his 367 innings behind the plate.
"I definitely wanted to prove myself," Gomes said. "I thought I could be an everyday big leaguer, or just play well. I'm definitely playing better than maybe I would've thought, but I'd say the work that we've been doing is paying off."
Gomes was quick to praise hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo and bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., a former catcher, for their guidance this season. He said he has established a strong comfort level talking catching with Alomar, and Van Burkleo has helped the young catcher simplify the mechanics with his swing.
"We have a good system going," said Gomes, who was hitting .409 in his past 13 games entering Friday. "That's definitely helped. That's one thing I've learned [is] having a good routine when you get up here. I won't say I've perfected my routine, but it's been working."