Giovanny Urshela begins rehab assignment

The Indians already seem to have a decision made on the utility spot

Alex Hooper
April 14, 2018 - 3:05 pm
Oct 9, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Cleveland Indians third baseman Giovanny Urshela (39) throws to first for an out in the sixth inning against the New York Yankees during game four of the 2017 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports


Cleveland, OH (92.3 the Fan) – The Cleveland Indians were able to defer multiple decisions on their Opening Day roster by placing players on the disabled list. Three weeks into the season, those decisions again loom near.

One of said conundrums involve the team’s utility spot, a valuable bench position in an era of needed versatility, but also one that blocks one of the team’s top prospects.

Giovanny Urshela (right hamstring strain) has officially entered his rehab assignment, going 0-for-3 in Triple-A Columbus on Friday, and giving the Indians a 20-day window to make a decision. If they retain Urshela, it would likely mean designating current utility man Erik Gonzalez, or vice versa.

Earlier in the spring, this author predicted that the Indians would retain Gonzalez because of near-equal positional versatility, as well as a more powerful bat despite a high strikeout rate.

Forget that ever happened. It will be Urshela when the time comes.

That too is simply a projection, but one based on mounting evidence, including the manager’s words. Terry Francona did nothing near saying that the third baseman would be the choice, but it seemed pretty insinuated.

When asked about the decision resurfacing, the skipper may have tipped his hand by his immediate reaction.

“We know Gio really well,” he said.

That’s it. That’s all we’re really going off of here. Francona was asked about each and directly referenced Urshela. Mark it down.

For the purpose of not fully entering the spin zone, here is the rest of the quote:

“We know what both of them do when healthy. So you want to get both guys to the point where they’re healthy. If they’re swinging the bat good, that certainly helps, but we kind of know what they do and who they are.”

So the decision has already been determined. Francona and company already know who they have in their system, thus there is nothing else to be determined. Other than health.

Aside from conjecture, there are actual sentiments that have emerged from the organization that Urshela makes more sense than Gonzalez as a part-time player because of the former’s simpler swing. While Urshela does not generate as much pop as Gonzalez, neither do enough offensively to register as as effective, therefore whomever makes more sense in the role is the better play.

The organization also has trust in Urshela, allowing him to start 39 games last year.