CLEVELAND -- The Indians have been looking for a way to get young catcher Yan Gomes into the starting lineup more often. Thursday's decision to designate Mark Reynolds for assignment has provided Cleveland with that chance.
Without Reynolds in the fold, the Indians have given an increasing number of at-bats to utlility man Ryan Raburn and Gomes. With catcher Carlos Santana's ability to handle first base and designated hitter -- two roles Reynolds filled in his time with the Tribe -- Gomes has garnered more time behind the plate.
"We were looking to get Gomes more playing time," Indians manager Terry Francona said, "because of the way he's played. And Raburn, his production made it increasingly hard to get Reynolds in the lineup."
Gomes, 26, opened the season with Triple-A Columbus, but an early-season injury to backup catcher Lou Marson created an oppportunity for the prospect. Through 50 games this season, Gomes has hit .303 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs for the Indians.
Entering Saturday's game against the Angels, Gomes led Major League catchers (with at least 150 plate appearances) in slugging percentage (.527) and was third in OPS (.872), trailing only Atlanta's Brian McCann and San Francisco's Buster Posey. Gomes also led the Majors with a 54.2 caught-stealing percentage.
"Gomes' development has been incredible," Francona said. "Doing it at the Major League level, it's not an easy thing to do. It's so nice to feel like you don't have to catch Carlos. We can DH him a couple days in a row. Not a lot of teams can do that. You can go a day, but sometimes we've been going two, or sometimes three out of four.
"That should keep a lot of gas in [Santana's] tank throughout the season, because catchers get beat up. You saw [Tigers catcher Alex] Avila the other day. He just kept getting those foul tips, man. He looked like he'd been run over by a truck."
Indians give tired Kazmir's next start to Carrasco
CLEVELAND -- Given Scott Kazmir's comeback from baseball oblivion, the Indians knew the day might come when the left-hander finally felt fatigued. Cleveland's goal now is to give the pitcher enough rest to get him back on track as soon as possible.
Indians manager Terry Francona announced Saturday that right-hander Carlos Carrasco will start in place of Kazmir on Wednesday in Minnesota. It is undetermined when Kazmir, who logged only three-plus innings in Friday's 5-2 loss to the Angels, will take the mound again for the Tribe.
"We're trying to bump Kaz back a couple days at the minimum," Francona said. "Kaz came in actually feeling pretty good today, which is really good. I think the rest will help him."
Francona said the down period could be stretched to as many as four days, if necessary. The Indians will continue to monitor Kazmir's progress before making a firm decision about the timing of his next start.
Kazmir described this as a "dead-arm" phase, which is something he has not dealt with in the past.
"It's just a little dead, a little fatigued," Kazmir said. "I felt like I could keep it going. We'll see how it goes. I've never had this where it's just been really fatigued. Normally, I'd get stronger as the year goes on. It's just something where we'll get past this and I'll be fine.
"The good news is I came in today feeling better than I anticipated."
Kazmir logged only 17 innings between Triple-A and the Majors prior to being released by the Angels in 2011. Last year, the left-hander had stints with the Sugar Land Skeeters in independent ball and Carolina in the Puerto Rican Winter League, and worked 86 2/3 combined innings.
This season, Kazmir has gone 7-5 with a 4.18 ERA in 21 starts, logging 114 innings for the Indians.
"It's so commendable on his end that he has, to this point, done what he's done," Francona said. "He's worked so hard and he's done such a great job, and he will continue to. I think it's a testament to what he's done, because what he missed the last couple years, to answer the bell every five or six days all year is not an easy thing to do for anybody."
Carrasco, who went 0-4 with a 9.10 ERA in six starts for the Tribe earlier this season, was promoted from Triple-A Columbus on Friday as an emergency long reliever. The right-hander responded with five shutout innings of relief to close out the loss to the Angels, saving Cleveland's tired bullpen some work.
"They gave me some tape on how to attack hitters in different counts," Carrasco said. "On 1-1, 1-2, 2-2 counts and everything. So I worked on that, trying to attack the hitters to both sides of the plate. That's what I did [Friday] night. That's why you saw those results, especially because I had good fastball location."
• Indians pitcher Brett Myers, who has been sidelined with a right elbow ailment since late April, continues to feel discomfort in his arm when throwing off a mound. Francona said Myers, signed to a one-year contract worth $7 million this winter to be Cleveland's No. 3 starter, feels no pain while playing catch on flat ground.
"To his credit, he keeps trying," Francona said. "I think he feels like he signed his contract and he wants to play it out. As long as he wants to try, we appreciate it. He's giving it everything. He keeps trying. It just keeps getting to that point where he gets on the elevated part and it hurts."
• Indians left fielder Michael Brantley was not in the starting lineup for Saturday's game, but that was due to his career numbers (1-for-11) against lefty C.J. Wilson. Raburn, who has hit .385 (5-for-13) in his career against Wilson, got the nod in left. Michael Bourn (.600 average vs. Wilson in 10 at-bats) remained in center field.
"Bourny has real good matchups against [Wilson]," Francona said. "I just want to try to use our roster and maximize everybody."
• Indians starter Zach McAllister dealt with a sprained right middle finger earlier this season, and it was his curveball that caused the most problems. In his start against Detroit on Thursday, McAllister only threw three curves, according to the PITCHf/x data, but Francona said the pitcher is fine.
"There's nothing that he throws that hurts at all," Francona said. "That's probably the pitch that he needs to work on the most, and it's probably the one he's been able to work on the least because of that finger. The other day, to start the game, he threw a couple real good ones."
• Class A Advanced Carolina outfielder Bryson Myles entered Saturday riding a 21-game hitting streak, which marks the longest run in Mudcats history. Throughout the streak, which dates back to July 15, Myles has hit .417 with 20 RBIs, 50 total bases and a 1.054 OPS.
Quote to note
"Sometimes a team gets a lead and they don't exactly grind out their at-bats -- that's human nature. But he came in throwing strikes and throwing 97 [mph], and he threw his breaking ball for strikes. If he does that against any lineup, he's going to be OK."
-- Francona, on Carrasco's five-inning performance in Friday's 5-2 loss to the Angels