The 22-year-old Twins center fielder slammed his back against the wall while catching a drive to left-center field off the bat of Ben Francisco in Friday's 5-4 loss to the Indians. After making an outstanding catch, Gomez immediately fell to the ground, grimacing in pain and clutching his back.
On Saturday, Gomez indicated he "probably won't play [Saturday] or [Sunday]."
That was news to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, though not of the shocking variety. "I wasn't expecting Carlos to be available for a few days after seeing the way he went into the wall," Gardenhire said. "I know he's sore, but he's rebounded better than we would've thought."
"That's an upside of being a 22-year-old, I guess," added Gardenhire.
Was slamming into the wall or the ensuing injury avoidable? Was it a product of youthful exuberance and not knowing one's surroundings? Not according to Gardenhire.
"Our guys got their work in. They know where the wall is."
The Twins manager also indicated he wouldn't caution Gomez or any of his other players on playing to avoid injury.
"You can't play the game that way," Gardenhire said. "You can't be tentative or cautious. You have to play. That's the way this game is."
Gomez, playing in his first full season in the Majors, came into the Cleveland series batting .248 with five home runs and 33 RBIs. In 96 games, the young star has swiped 21 bases and displayed fine range in center field. Gomez has collected 26 extra-base hits, after only posting five in 58 games for the New York Mets in 2007.
Lately, though, Gomez has been struggling at the plate. In his last 16 games, he's hitting just .111 (7-for-63) with just one walk and 15 strikeouts. Before this recent slump, Gomez had been batting .274. He had also notched a slew of multi-hit games in June and early July.
And now, with an aching lower back, Gomez is on the shelf for seemingly a couple days or longer. At least that's what the young outfielder thinks. And maybe, with his recent struggles at the plate, that's just what the doctor ordered.
"Who knows?" said Gardenhire. "In a way, maybe a couple days will do him some good. It could let him relax and give him a fresh mentality."
Skip Snow is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less