Cubs designate catcher Yan Gomes for assignment, sign Tomás Nido

Veteran catcher Yan Gomes caught the last pitch of the Cubs’ 5-2 win on Tuesday, meeting reliever Keegan Thompson in the middle to congratulate him with a hand clasp and pat on the back.

Some 13 hours later, Gomes already had cleared out his locker at Wrigley Field, making room for catcher Tomás Nido, who stood in front of it answering questions about joining a new team midseason.

The Cubs designated Gomes for assignment on Wednesday and signed Nido, whom the Mets released Monday. Gomes was in the final year of his contract, after the Cubs picked up his third-year option for $6 million this offseason.

“Of course it was a tough decision,” manager Craig Counsell said Wednesday before the Cubs’ 6-5 victory against the Giants. “Yan is a great teammate and important person in the clubhouse. But in the end, we just felt like we had to make an attempt at trying to get more production out of the catching spot.”

Gomes’ production dropped off this season. He was batting .154, compared to .267 last year. Sharing the position with Miguel Amaya, Gomes saw his playing time wane as the latter moved into the primary role.

With Amaya also struggling at the plate (.190 batting average), the lack of offense generated by the catching position was glaring, even on a team with overall offensive struggles the last month and a half.

Nido, who was in his eighth season with the Mets, hasn’t been an offensive juggernaut but at least has put together a .229/.261/.361 slash line this season.

“It’s a special group of guys,” Nido said, “good pitching, and I’m very excited to be able to handle that staff.”

His new teammates echoed his excitement. “Having Tomás come in, he’s awesome,” veteran right-hander Kyle Hendricks said. “So that’s the other side of it. But man, Yan became a really close friend to myself, close with his family. So it’s really tough to see, unfortunate, hate seeing that side of the game. Really going be missed around here. He made everyone better.”

That seemed to be the consensus. Cubs lefty Justin Steele talked about asking Gomes’ advice not only about baseball but also fatherhood, and watching his young son play with Gomes’ kids.

“It’s kind of the nature of the beast with what we do,” Steele said. “I know he’ll be fine. It’s just the kind of resilient person he is. But initially, it sucks because you love the person.”

Brown gets good news

The Cubs received promising news from a series of doctor’s opinions on Ben Brown’s neck injury. The general consensus was that he had a “benign area of concern,” Counsell said, but it’s already dissipating. The initial diagnosis [of a stress reaction] is not something we’re operating under right now,” Counsell said, “which is good news.”

Brown played catch Tuesday for the first time since landing on the injured list and will continue ramping up baseball activities “as tolerated.”

Thompson to paternity list

About 45 minutes after Thompson recorded his first save of the season on Tuesday, Counsell said, he received a call. It was time to get to the hospital for the birth of his son.

The Cubs are putting Keegan Thompson on the paternity list and recalling Porter Hodge. Craig Counsell said Thompson got a call about 45 mins after the game. He and his wife Tate welcomed a baby boy this morning.

Keegan posted to his Instagram story: https://t.co/vWUJZK8of7 pic.twitter.com/YvmimHvdv1

— Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee) June 19, 2024

Thompson and his wife, Tate, welcomed a baby boy on Wednesday morning. The Cubs put Thompson on the paternity list and recalled reliever Porter Hodge.

Injury update

Cubs reliever Yency Almonte threw live batting practice at High-A South Bend on Tuesday.

“It went OK,” Counsell said. “We’re not going to move on to the next step.”

The next step would be a rehab outing. Instead, Almonte is going to keep building up strength while continuing his throwing program.

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