CLEVELAND -- Indians catcher Carlos Santana initially thought he had broken his thumb. Anyone who watched the fastball from closer Chris Perez cross the catcher up and drill his left hand on Monday night probably had the same reaction.
"We all saw it. He got smoked," Indians manager Terry Francona said on Tuesday.
The Indians caught a break: Santana only suffered a bruise.
The X-rays on Santana's hand came back negative for any structural damage, but the catcher is considered day to day and likely will miss a few games. In the meantime, Cleveland made a handful of roster moves to offer more protection behind the plate, especially because backup Lou Marson has also been dealing with lingering neck stiffness.
Prior to Tuesday's game against the Yankees, the Indians placed Marson on the 15-day disabled list and promoted catchers Yan Gomes and Omir Santos from Triple-A Columbus. In order to add Santos to the 40-man roster, Cleveland designated pitcher Robert Whitenack -- claimed off waivers from the Cubs on Wednesday -- for assignment.
Marson suffered a cervical (neck) strain during a hard collision at the plate with Rays center fielder Desmond Jennings in the third inning of Saturday's road game against Tampa Bay. Cleveland's backup catcher will be eligible to come off the DL on April 24.
"We put Lou in the game [Monday] to back up and we were not comfortable with that," Francona said. "So we sat there last night and we talked through all kinds of different scenarios. What we're going to do is we DL'd Lou. That allowed us to get Yan Gomes here and he will start catching tonight."
Gomes, who was acquired from the Blue Jays in a November trade, was in the lineup Tuesday and batted ninth. Last season, the 25-year-old Gomes hit .204 in 43 games in five stints with the Blue Jays, and .328 with 13 homers, 29 doubles and 59 RBIs in 79 games for Triple-A Las Vegas. He had two doubles and two RBIs in four games with Columbus this year.
"It's exciting," Gomes said, "especially being around these guys in Spring Training and just seeing how much fun they're having. I'm excited to come out here and have a good time."
The Indians are hoping that Santana will need only a few days before being cleared to at least serve as the backup catcher. Through seven games this season, the switch-hitter had a .500 (13-for-26) average to go along with two homers, four doubles, four walks, five runs and five RBIs.
"I'm having a great start and I don't want to stop," Santana said. "But, I'm not 100 percent now and I can't play now. Maybe in the next couple days we'll see what happens."
Tribe's need for catching help keeps Giambi on DL
CLEVELAND -- The Indians were expected to activate veteran Jason Giambi from the disabled list on Tuesday, but the team's plans changed after catcher Carlos Santana injured his left hand.
Rather than using the vacant spot on the active roster for Giambi -- Cleveland was carrying only 24 players on Monday -- the Indians added reinforcements behind the plate. Catchers Yan Gomes and Omir Santos were promoted from Triple-A Columbus and backup catcher Lou Marson (neck) was placed on the 15-day DL. Santana is currently listed as day to day with his hand injury.
"We talked to Jason Giambi about not being activated tonight," manager Terry Francona said on Tuesday. "That allowed us to purchase the contract of Omir Santos. When we're comfortable that Santana can at least back up, then we can activate Giambi. We're hoping that's day to day."
Santos, 31, was thrilled to be back in the big leagues, but he was not happy about the circumstances.
"It was exciting, but I know it's bad for the team," Santos said. "It's not good when both catchers go down and you call up both catchers from Triple-A. That's not a good sign, but I was happy. I'm happy for me, but sad for them. I'm here, hopefully, for a couple days so they can go back to work."
Santos has appeared in parts of four big league seasons with the Orioles, Mets and Tigers. His best season came in 2009, when he hit .260 with seven home runs and 40 RBIs in 96 games for New York. Over the past two years, though, he has appeared in only 14 games for Detroit, spending the bulk of his time in the Minor Leagues.
When the 42-year-old Giambi does join the active roster, he will serve as a part-time designated hitter and pinch-hitter. He served a similar role over the past few seasons for the Rockies, hitting .245 with a .370 on-base percentage over 211 games from 2010-12. In that span, Giambi hit 20 homers, drew 72 walks and knocked in 75 RBIs.
Francona preaches patience after Ubaldo's outing
CLEVELAND -- The Indians are not going to press the panic button over one poor start from starter Ubaldo Jimenez.
"[We'll be] a lot more patient than one bad start," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That would be a horrible mistake on our part."
During Monday's 11-6 loss to the Yankees, Jimenez allowed seven runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and three walks in just 4 1/3 innings. It was a drastic contrast to his first outing of the year on Wednesday, when he held the Blue Jays to one run on three hits with six strikeouts and two walks over six innings.
Jimenez, who led the league in losses (17) last season and went 1-10 with a 6.63 in his final 14 starts in 2012, admitted after his most recent outing that he had some concern over the performance.
"A little bit, definitely," Jimenez said. "Because you want to keep it going. I had a good start in Toronto, but it's early in the season. I have to worry about my next game. I have to forget about this one."
Francona said that Jimenez's mechanics were a mess from the start. Potentially playing a role was the fact that the radar gun readings in Progressive Field were an estimated 2.6-2.8 mph slower for every pitcher on Monday, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
"He was flying open a lot," Francona said. "The direction to the plate wasn't very good. Some pitchers adjust better than other pitchers during the games. Some do it better on a side day. His direction, he flew open [Monday] and it gave the left-handers a good look at the ball and it took away some of his deception, and some of his downward plane and his crispness, as you could see.
"We've got some work to do on the side day. Other than that, I don't think we ever want to run from our guys. We want to help make them better."
Quote to note
"The more we saw him, the more we liked what we saw. And there's obviously enough comfort there that, when something happens, we feel comfortable enough to throw him in and let him start a game. I think we're excited."
--Francona, on Gomes
• Indians left-hander Scott Kazmir -- on the 15-day disabled list with a right rib cage strain -- played catch on flat ground up to a distance of 90 feet on Tuesday. Kazmir (Cleveland's fifth starter) is eligible to be activated on April 17.
• Center fielder Michael Bourn was out of the starting lineup Tuesday for the first time this season. Francona said it was a scheduled day off for the leadoff man. Right fielder Drew Stubbs moved into the top spot and shifted to center in place of Bourn.
• Shortstop Francisco Lindor, the Indians' top pick in the 2011 Draft and their top prospect, entered Tuesday having hit safely in each of Class A Advanced Carolina's first four games. Lindor was also pacing the Carolina League with five stolen bases.
• After calling up Gomes and Santos from Triple-A Columbus, the Indians promoted catcher Roberto Perez from Double-A Akron to Triple-A.