8/24/2014 6:15 P.M. ET
Francona gives Brantley some well-deserved rest
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- If he were managing with his heart, Terry Francona would have left outfielder Michael Brantley's name in the starting lineup on Sunday. Cleveland's manager opted instead to go by what he has seen of late, and that led him to give Brantley a much-needed day off against Houston.
Francona expected to hear about it from some upset Tribe fans.
"[For] the people that send me the mail," Francona said, "I have thought this through."
Brantley was Cleveland's lone All-Star this summer, and has been unquestionably the most steady performer in the team's lineup all year. The outfielder dealt with leg soreness earlier this month, though, and has lagged in the batter's box over the past week.
Combined with Monday's off-day, the timing gives Brantley two days to rest and reset.
"I thought he needed it," Francona said. "That's a hard one for me, because he's so good. But I think you can make a mistake when you want a guy to desperately play because he's good, when you know darn right a day off would be in his best interest. That's kind of how I feel."
Through 123 games, Brantley has hit .311/.370/.499 with 18 home runs, 32 doubles, 80 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, 78 runs and nearly as many walks (42) as strikeouts (45). After beginning August with a .396 (19-for-48) showing in his first 12 games, Brantley has slumped to the tune of an .077 (2-for-26) average in his last seven games, entering Sunday.
Francona feels it is simply a normal skid within a long season.
"I just don't know that you can hit the ball hard all the time," Francona said. "I think during the season you go through periods where, like in Minnesota [earlier this week], he took several good swings and fouled balls back. He just missed them. And then once you sometimes miss your pitch, then you're kind of in the hole."
In four of five games from Aug. 8-13, Francona used Brantley as a designated hitter to help the outfielder rest his sore legs. The manager does not think that is still much of an issue, right now.
"I think he's doing better," Francona said, "because we've asked him a number of times if he wanted to DH, and he goes, 'No, I'm OK to play the outfield.'"
Gimenez happy to be back with Tribe
CLEVELAND -- Things have changed a lot in the Indians' clubhouse since the last time Chris Gimenez had a locker in the room.
The catcher looked around on Sunday morning and saw players he once knew only as prospects. These days, those kids have developed into leaders for a Cleveland club that is fighting for a playoff spot, rather than playing out the string.
"This is definitely a destination where a lot of people want to come," Gimenez said. "I was here through the rough parts of it. It's actually pretty cool. Guys like [Jason] Kipnis and [Lonnie] Chisenhall, those are younger guys who, when I was here, were just breaking in."
Gimenez -- acquired from the Rangers in exchange for future considerations on Saturday -- was officially recalled from Triple-A Columbus prior to Sunday's game against the Astros. He will serve as the backup catcher to rookie Roberto Perez, while starting catcher Yan Gomes resides on Major League Baseball's 7-day concussion list.
The 31-year-old Gimenez, who played for the Indians during the 2009-10 seasons when Cleveland lost a combined 190 games, was happy to be back with his first organization. Over parts of six seasons in the big leagues, the catcher has posted a .215 average at the plate and a 26-percent caught-stealing rate behind it, during stints with Cleveland, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Texas.
In 34 big league games this season, Gimenez hit .262 for the Rangers. He was most recently with Triple-A Round Rock, where he hit .283 with six home runs, 22 RBIs and an .843 OPS in 39 games. Gimenez had to fly from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles on Saturday, where he caught a red-eye flight to Detroit, where he hopped on a flight to Cleveland to arrive on Sunday morning.
"It was a rough night," Gimenez said with a laugh. "I'm willing to help in any way possible. I'll do whatever I can do -- play wherever, talk to whomever. That's the fun part of it now for me, just getting a chance to come back here and reconnect with some guys -- and having a chance to do whatever I can do to help."
Indians manager Terry Francona said Gimenez has been targeted by the Tribe since last winter.
"His reputation in the organization is so good," Francona said. "It was kind of a no-brainer. ... To get him over here, we were really thrilled. I don't know him very well, but I feel like I do."
Quote to note
"To see the type of success that they're having now, it's a credit to how good ... they are and how far this whole organization has come. They've put a lot of emphasis on working from the ground up and trying to create and build that talent through the Draft. Those guys are perfect elements of that."
--Gimenez, on homegrown players such as Kipnis and Chisenhall becoming key members of the team's core
• Gomes, who is on the 7-day concussion list, slowed his activity on Sunday after still experiencing symptoms on Saturday. Francona reiterated that Cleveland will take its time with Gomes to make sure he is at full strength before returning.
"I don't think that it'll be more than [seven days], but there's phases," Francona said on Sunday. "They ramp up progressively. I think there's three or four steps, and each one you have to pass. When you pass one, you go on to the next one. How fast, it just depends on how you feel."
• Shortstop Francisco Lindor, Cleveland's top prospect, went 4-for-4 for Columbus on Saturday, marking his second four-hit game in a row. Through 30 games since being promoted to Triple-A, Lindor has posted a .287/.316/.395 slash line with four homers, 12 RBIs and 19 runs for the Clippers.
• Following Sunday's action, the Indians' rotation has turned in a 1.71 ERA, .176 opponents' batting average and 0.90 WHIP over the past 13 games.