8/26/2014 8:14 P.M. ET
Indians sending catcher Wolters, four others to AFL
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Indians third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh does not have to look too far to spot three of the players he managed in the Arizona Fall League four years ago.
Second baseman Jason Kipnis, lefty Marc Rzepczynski and catcher Roberto Perez suited up for Sarbaugh with the Peoria Javelinas in October 2010. Kipnis has since developed into an All-Star for the Indians, Rzepczynski is a key part of the Tribe's bullpen and Perez is serving as the backup catcher.
"It's kind of fun for me to see where they were at that point," Sarbaugh said, "and now to see what they've done with their careers."
On Tuesday, the AFL revealed rosters for this coming season and Cleveland will be sending catcher Tony Wolters, outfielder Jordan Smith and pitchers Louis Head, Dylan Baker and Nick Maronda to Peoria. Joining the Javelinas' staff will be Double-A Akron manager Dave Wallace (coach) and Class A Advanced athletic trainer Bobby Ruiz.
The 22-year-old Wolters could be considered the top prospect among the group being sent by the Indians. Wolters, ranked No. 18 among Indians prospects by MLB.com, was selected in the third round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft as a middle infielder, but has spent the past two years transitioning to catcher. Through 94 games for Akron this year, he has hit .249 with 18 extra-base hits and 34 RBIs, throwing out 47-percent of would-be stealers with no errors behind the plate.
"I think one way [the AFL] helps," Sarbaugh said, "you read so much about players, but getting to play them and getting that sense of, 'You know what? I know I can play with these guys.' I think that helps the guys that maybe don't have the big names to go in there and make an impact."
Smith, 24, has hit .247 with 27 extra-base hits and 47 RBIs in 121 games for Akron. The 24-year-old Head has a 2.85 ERA with 12 saves through 44 relief appearances between Carolina and Akron this season. Baker, 22, has missed most of this season due to a left fibula fracture and Maronde was acquired from the Angels in exchange for cash or a player to be named on July 12.
Sarbaugh said that adding a month to a player's season is also a good learning experience.
"They get to go home for a little while and it can be tough to get started again," Sarbaugh said. "But I definitely think that helps prepare them for that longer season, keeping their body in shape and dealing with the mental grind of it. That's a big part of it, too."
Francona keeping close eye on Gomes
CHICAGO -- Indians catcher Yan Gomes will be eligible to come off Major League Baseball's seven-day concussion list on Friday in Kansas City. Manager Terry Francona has a feeling Gomes will be doing everything he can to be activated that night.
"I'd be surprised if he's not raring to go," Francona said on Tuesday.
Prior to the opener of Cleveland's three-game series against the White Sox, Gomes did some running and pregame hitting as part of his progression to full activities. Francona noted that the catcher looked and felt improved since suffering a mild concussion on Thursday in Minnesota.
Gomes was struck in the side of the mask by a pitch that deflected off Minnesota batter Kurt Suzuki. Cleveland's starting catcher was placed on MLB's seven-day list on Saturday, pushing rookie Roberto Perez into the lead role.
Francona was encouraged by Gomes' progress on Tuesday.
"He's having a really good day," said the manager. "Even when I saw him in the lobby this morning, he looks a lot clearer in his eyes. He's done and will do more today. ... Friday's his day. Unless he has a setback somewhere -- which it doesn't look like he [will] -- he'll probably be ready to go."
Through 109 games this season, Gomes has hit .284 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs. Gomes 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.
To help the depth behind Perez, the Indians acquired veteran catcher Chris Gimenez from the Rangers on Sunday in exchange for future considerations. Francona noted that he has not decided yet whether Gimenez will start a game during the current series.
"Because of his versatility, having him on the bench is pretty helpful," Francona said. "And he doesn't know our pitchers yet that much, but he could start a game. We'll see."
Murphy making progress, makes trip
CHICAGO -- David Murphy was not going to be cleared to travel again with the Indians until he was able to resume baseball activities. The outfielder's presence in the visiting clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday was a clear indicator of the progress he has made behind the scenes.
Murphy, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 10 with a strained right oblique, took 45 swings off a tee on Tuesday and said he is feeling great. The sidelined outfielder indicated that he still feels some discomfort early in his workouts, but the pain goes away after he stretches and gets warmed up.
"I'm making progress," Murphy said. "I think, more than anything, I'm starting to do baseball activities more and more. Once I got to that point, they said I could travel. I still don't know exctly where I'm at in terms of how close I am to a rehab assignment."
Indians manager Terry Francona said the timing of a Minor League rehab assignment could be tricky, because the season is ending for most of Cleveland's affiliates. Triple-A Columbus, however, does have a postseason approaching.
Francona said he has been impressed with how Murphy has attacked his rehab.
"He's doing OK," Francona said. "He's going to continue to ramp up his swings this week. He's been so diligent, but you can't push it. ... He works out in the morning, he brings his kid in and does all his stuff, and then he stays for the game -- all things that probably aren't shocking. It's why it's easy to have so much respect for him. I think he's coming quick, which is good."
Through 109 games this season, Murphy has hit .262 with seven home runs, 21 doubles, 55 RBIs and 36 runs scored.
Quote to note
"It's been awesome. Obviously, it's frustrating when you're not able to contribute, but that's ... being selfish. When the team wins, that makes you sleep easier at night. It's great to see our depth and guys coming up from the Minor Leagues and contributing."
-- Indians outfielder David Murphy, on the team's play while he has been on the disabled list
• Beginning with Tuesday's game against the White Sox, the Indians will play 30 games in 30 days, leading up to the Tribe's final off-day of the season on Sept. 25. The prolonged stretch is the result of the postponement (due to rain) of Cleveland's June 18 home game against the Angels until Sept. 8.
"It'll be nice to have some extra bodies and arms," said Indians manager Terry Francona, referring to rosters expanding on Sept. 1. "So, when games are spread out one way or the other, you can either get guys off their feet or protect your bullpen. But, I don't think it matters. We're at the point now where, days off are great, but we need to play."
• Designated hitter Jason Giambi, who has been on the disabled list since June 12 with a left knee issue, began a Minor League rehab assignment with Double-A Akron on Tuesday night. Utility man Ryan Raburn (on the 15-day DL with a right wrist injury) has gone 1-for-14 through three games with Triple-A Columbus and will resume his rehab with Akron on Wednesday.
• On Tuesday, the Indians named Class A Lake County outfielder Mike Papi the organization's Minor League player of the week for Aug. 18-24. During that span, the 21-year-old Papi (selected 38th overall in the First-Year Player Draft this past June) hit .360 (9-for-25) with two home runs and seven RBIs.