8/23/2014 7:22 P.M. ET
Injured Raburn, Giambi nearing rehab games
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- The Indians' bench produced at a high level last season, becoming known in Cleveland as the "Goon Squad." The group has not been the same this year without the same kind of contributions from veterans Ryan Raburn and Jason Giambi.
Raburn has dealt with a right wrist issue for most of the season and was scheduled to begin a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus on Saturday. Giambi has spent the bulk of this year on the disabled list and could begin his own rehab assignment next week. Both Raburn and Giambi could be activated after Sept. 1, when rosters expand.
If the pair was healthy all season, perhaps the Tribe would be in a different position.
"I'm not sure how you know," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "You don't know what a guy's going to hit."
The Indians do know what they have missed from the 33-year-old Raburn, who was placed on the 15-day DL on Tuesday. In 70 games this year, he has hit .191 with three home runs and 21 RBIs, including a .181 average (.550 OPS) against left-handers. In 87 games in 2013, Raburn hit .272 overall with 16 homers, 55 RBIs and a .901 OPS, including a 1.020 OPS off lefties.
Not having that same weapon against left-handed pitchers has hurt Cleveland.
"He was such a force last year," Francona said. "There were plenty of games where he was hitting cleanup and having cleanup numbers. I think he had a .900-something OPS. And, again, you can't put it on one guy -- that's not fair -- but it was such a luxury when you had a bench player doing the damage that he was doing."
Raburn (eligible for activation on Sept. 2) is currently scheduled to play around seven Minor League games, according to Francona.
Giambi, whose latest DL stint began on June 12 due to a left knee issue, has only appeared in 15 games this season, hitting .128 with two homers in 47 at-bats. The 43-year-old designated hitter hit only .183 last season, but he posted a 1.181 OPS in 23 ninth-inning plate appearances and a 1.210 OPS in 17 pinch-hit appearances. He had nine homers and 31 RBIs in 71 games overall.
Giambi could begin his Minor League rehab stint as early as Monday.
"I do know that when he's active," Francona said of Giambi, "I think our team ... has a little bit more stick-your-chest-out a little bit. I think it's because of all the things 'G' stands for and what he believes in."
Indians place Gomes on 7-day DL, acquire Gimenez
CLEVELAND -- The Indians hoped to avoid placing starting catcher Yan Gomes on the disabled list, but that step became necessary on Saturday.
Prior to their game against the Astros, the Indians placed Gomes on Major League Baseball's seven-day concussion list after the catcher still displayed some symptoms. The Tribe then added some depth behind the plate by acquiring catcher Chris Gimenez from the Rangers in exchange for future considerations.
"We just put [Gomes] on the seven-day disabled list," Indians manager Terry Francona said before Saturday's game. "He did some things today and just still feels some symptoms. This isn't something you can rush through."
The 27-year-old Gomes was struck in the left side of the mask on Thursday, when a pitch from Corey Kluber glanced off the left arm of Minnesota's Kurt Suzuki before hitting Gomes. The catcher finished that fifth inning, but he was then replaced behind the plate in the sixth by rookie catcher Roberto Perez.
Perez will serve as Cleveland's primary catcher for now, while Gimenez will slide into the backup role. The 31-year-old Gimenez also played for the Indians in parts of the 2009-10 seasons. He has hit .215 in 177 big league games between stints with Cleveland, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Texas. Gimenez hit .262 in 34 games this season for Texas.
Gomes said on Friday that he experienced dizziness shortly after being struck by the deflected pitch, but the catcher noted that he felt improvement. He was diagnosed with a mild concussion, but he was cleared for some light activities on Friday to see if there were any lingering issues.
"I think he actually had a really good day. He got a little bit active," Francona said. "This is just something that, it's not like a hamstring, where you can nurse it along or you can stretch. When you start messing around with somebody's head, you've got to adhere to the regulations.
"You just can't let a player that's willing to try to play do something he shouldn't do. That's just not right."
Through 109 games this season, Gomes has hit .284 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs. The catcher has been one of Cleveland's hottest hitters in the second half, posting a .351 average to go along with five home runs, nine doubles, 17 RBIs and a .974 OPS through 29 games.
Quote to note
"He hasn't gone anywhere. I think he's actually handled this unbelievably, the way he's still a leader, but when you're active and you're out there and you're able to play, it helps. I think having him back will be a big benefit to us."
-- Francona, on Giambi's long stay on the DL.
• Rookie outfielder Tyler Holt was caught stealing third base for the second out in the eighth inning of Cleveland's eventual 5-1 loss to Houston on Friday night. Francona said Saturday that it was not necessarily the wrong idea, but he felt Holt needed to have enough information to know he would reach safely.
"Because of the way the game ended," Francona said, "it was pretty sloppy, so I don't think you want to pull a young kid in your office and start yelling at him. To be honest with you, it wasn't a bad time to steal. I just want to make sure he has enough information, because you don't want it to be a 50-50 proposition."
• Right fielder David Murphy, who was placed on the 15-day DL on Aug. 10 due to a right oblique strain, took 40 swings without making contact on Saturday to test his side. Francona said Murphy was "really encouraged" and will continue to increase his effort level in the coming days.
• Through 38 games, outfield prospect Bradley Zimmer has hit .308 with three home runs, 15 extra-base hits, 24 RBIs, nine stolen bases, 17 walks and 26 runs scored for Class A Short Mahoning Valley. Zimmer was Cleveland's first-round pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.