As his development as a minor-league player progressed to Triple-A for the first time in 2014, Giovanny Urshela looked like a slick-fielding third baseman capable of exceeding the low expectations he brought to the table as a prospect, especially since he showed more power at the plate at Double-A and above. The Indians have turned to him in two of the last three seasons when injuries created a need for infield depth on their 25-man roster, but the results have been underwhelming to this point at the top level. Although he's done a nice job limiting strikeouts (17.7 percent K%), a .225/.273/.314 line over 453 plate appearances has left the door open for other players on the organizational depth chart to bypass him in the battle for leftover scraps of playing time. Additionally, Urshela didn't tear the cover off the ball during his time at Triple-A Columbus last year (.266/.321/.374), and increasingly, his future looks like that of a Quad-A player.
Urshela heads into spring training in the mix for one of the final 25-man roster spots, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. At this time, it seems like the Indians are planning on carrying a four-man bench: a fourth outfielder, a backup catcher, a utility infielder and either a fifth outfielder or another infielder. Urshela seems to be battling with Erik Gonzalez for that final utility infielder spot under the assumption that Michael Brantley (ankle) won't be able to suit up on Opening Day, although Yandy Diaz (groin) could also be in the mix if Brantley is ready to go. Urshela's lack of minor-league options would normally work in his favor in this instance, but Gonzalez is also out of options, making that a moot point. Urshela will likely need a strong spring at the plate, as his past two seasons have left much to be desired in that respect (.587 career OPS in the majors).
Urshela (leg) is in Wednesday's lineup for Game 5 of the ALDS against New York. Urshela was dealing with some soreness after taking a line drive off his left leg during Monday's contest, but should be good to go for Wednesday's pivotal affair. The 26-year-old will bat ninth and man the hot corner.
Urshela is experiencing soreness after taking a liner off his left leg during Game 4 of the ALDS on Monday, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. The injury isn't thought to be anything overly serious, but it could force Urshela to miss the Indians' decisive Game 5 against the Yankees on Wednesday. If Urshela is unable to play, the Indians would likely push Jose Ramirez to third base and turn to either Jason Kipnis or Erik Gonzalez to take over at the keystone.
Urshela is out of the lineup Sunday against the White Sox. Over the last seven games, Urshela has gone just 3-for-17 (.176), bringing his batting average down to .224 for the year. He'll give way to Yandy Diaz at the hot corner Sunday. Diaz and Urshela have shared time at third base fairly evenly recently, so it remains to be seen who will be Cleveland's primary option when the Indians begin the playoffs.
Urshela is not in the lineup for Friday's game against the White Sox. Urshela will be held out in favor of Yandy Diaz for the second time in three games. Both players saw frequent action at third base in September, so it remains to be seen if one or the other will be the team's primary third baseman in the postseason, or if they will share the duties.