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Around the Farm: November 16, 2014 - Urshela injured

Around the Farm: November 16, 2014 - Urshela injured
Giovanny Urshela (Photo: Primicia)
November 17, 2014
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Around the Farm (ATF) takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Indians prospects throughout the system. This is a special fall and winter ball version of ATF that recaps all the offseason action by Indians players in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) and the Caribbean Leagues. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game.

According to El Universal, a news outlet in Venezuela, Indians third base prospect Giovanny Urshela could missthe rest of the winter ball season with a serious left knee injury. He sustained the injury in the fourth inning on Saturday night, apparently at some point running the bases or sliding into third base for a triple.

Urshela remained in the game and later in the inning easily scored on a single by outfielderCarlos Moncrief. At the conclusion of the inning he did not go out to the field the next inning to play defense as he was removed for precautionary reasons because he complained of soreness to his left knee.

Urshela is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday as there is some concern that the soreness could also be a potential ligament tear in the knee. His winter ball manager Eduardo Perez was not overly optimistic and believes there could be some structural damage to the knee.

At this point, even if his MRI returns clean, Urshela's winter ball season looks to be over no matter what. He was only slated to play until the first week of December as that was when his winter ball contract expired, but with the success he was having in winter ball he and his team were working with the Indians to try and extend that contract through the end of December. At the time of the injury he was first in the league in hitting (.398) and second in RBI (22).

This is a big blow to the depth at third base for the Indians as Urshela was positioned as a possible solution to their third base woes at some point in 2015. If there is ligament damage and he requires surgery then he is all but out of the plans for 2015 as he will spend all or a large portion of next season rehabbing.

The Indians were not immediately available for comment.

Venezuela Winter League

Jesus Aguilar (1B, Leones del Caracas): 1-for-4. A rather quiet night from Aguilar, though he is still having a solid winter showing hitting .278 with 3 HR, 14 RBI and .822 OPS in 20 games. It is not the eye-popping stat line to date as he had last year in Venezuela, but there is still a long way to go.

Dominican Winter League

Enosil Tejeda (RP, Gigantes del Ciabo): L (0-1), 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R/ER, 1 BB, 2 K. This was Tejeda’s winter ball debut this offseason and one he would soon like to forget. Obviously, he was a little rusty and should get a good amount of action pitching out of the bullpen over the next few weeks.

Puerto Rico Winter League

Alexis Pantoja (SS, Senadores de San Juan): 0-for-2, 2 K, 2 E. Pantoja got the rare start and he did not respond to the opportunity well. It is important to note he is extremely green at 18-years of age in an advanced winter league, but the fact he was even playing is a testament to how good of a defender he is viewed to be already. The nerves and inexperience no doubt got into him in this one with strikeouts in both at bats and two errors in the field before being removed from the game.

Giovanni Soto (RP, Gigantes de Carolina): W (2-0), 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K. This was an interesting outing as Soto was stretched out to three innings, his longest out this offseason. He has now appeared in seven games and in 12.1 innings has allowed just 1 run on 8 hits, 4 walks and has 11 strikeouts.

Australian Baseball League

Ryan Battaglia (1B, Brisbane Bandits): 3-for-5, 2 R, 2B, RBI. After just three hits in his first nine games, Battaglia exploded for a three-hit game and doubled his season output for hits in the process. He is still only hitting .194 with a .477 OPS in 31 at bats, but this is obviously a step in a more positive direction with his performance.

Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.

User Comments

November 18, 2014 - 12:26 AM EST
Indians are not commenting on Urshela until they evaluate him on Thursday, but I heard from someone "in the know" that it is indeed a PCL tear. Ouch.
November 18, 2014 - 12:08 AM EST
Thanks for the confirmation on Kouz's free agency Matt. Where did that PCL info on Urshela come from?
November 17, 2014 - 10:38 PM EST
It's a PCL tear. He's out 6 months.
November 17, 2014 - 10:28 PM EST
Don't give up on Urshela being ready to go for Spring Training. I met today w the A's orthopedist who's doing some work on me. When the word "tweeked" is used- as it was with Urshela it's usually an MCL- medial collateral ligament. This happens alot on your inside knee when cutting hard and fast around bases- as Gio was on the triple. If it was an ACL or major meniscus tear- he goes down- and doesn't stick around for Moncrief to drive him in, and ends up w surgery. The MCL rehab nowadays is 10-14 days rest, 30-40 days PT and NO surgery. Heals up nice on it's own.
Head Check
November 17, 2014 - 6:48 PM EST
Kouzmanoff would be an excellent 3B option at this point even if it took a ML deal. He'd be cheap and there is some intrigue there. If Urshela is out for an extended period of time due to his TBD injury, Walters should become the everyday 3B at Columbus with his eye on making the majors sooner than later.. It's not a good idea by any means, but does Santana's name come into play as well?
November 17, 2014 - 3:23 PM EST
Kouzmanoff was DFA'd by the Rangers in October and became a free agent.
November 17, 2014 - 3:10 PM EST
With Kris Bryant close to reaching the majors at 3b for the Cubs, would that open up the availability of getting former Ranger Mike Olt? His value has fallen maybe the Indians wont have to pay as much to get him.

November 17, 2014 - 3:08 PM EST
Kouzmanoff is not a FA. Maybe he gets non tendered or whatever and becomes one. In that case, a minor league deal and ST invite is probably all he gets. He performed well in limited time last year, the organization knows him, and fits a massive need if Urshela is out. Its not like a necessarily want him, he just kind of fits.
November 17, 2014 - 2:58 PM EST
Are we talking about the same Kevin Kouzmanoff who has 50 MLB plate appearances in the last 3 years?

I'm all for that on a minor league deal with ST invite, but no way that guy gets a MLB deal, right?
November 17, 2014 - 2:48 PM EST
Kevin Kouzmanoff was mentioned as one of the best third base options that could be available this offseason in an article on either ESPN or FG. He makes perfect sense whether Urshela is injured or not. He is entering his 3rd arb season. I wonder what he would cost.
November 17, 2014 - 2:29 PM EST
To me, Aviles would be a poor option if it came to that. Been there and done that with him. And I just don't think Ramirez has the arm strength for the position.
MT88 in WI
November 17, 2014 - 2:22 PM EST
Perhaps it means Aviles gets more time at 3rd base and Jose Ramirez slides over once Lindor is deemed to be ready for the call up...

I think the injury (if major like a ligament tear) raises the question again of Gio getting rostered.. Before the injury to me it was no brainer. now it's wait & see.

A lot of moving parts to consider before moving on a specific action course...
November 17, 2014 - 12:46 PM EST
Hoping for the best for Urshela. As long as it is not a tear, he will be available next year. If it is torn, now we are on to 2016 for him.
November 17, 2014 - 10:58 AM EST
I don't see how an Urshela injury would make them go after a Headley or someone like that. This is a short term injury which would likely only affect 2015, so if he is indeed out for most or all of 2015 then I would expect them to go out and try and find a depth option for this season alone. No obligations beyond 2015.
November 17, 2014 - 10:42 AM EST
Lonnie Chisenhall's worst nightmare would be the return of Jack Hannahan. Do the Indians start to consider Chase Headley as an option now if Urshela is out most of 2015?

November 17, 2014 - 10:18 AM EST
Not sure how his defense is, but Jordan Pacheco is now a FA. I remember him having some exposure to 3rd base in the past. Ok hitter, not much pop.
November 17, 2014 - 10:10 AM EST
If he stayed in the game, have a hard time believing he did something like tear an ACL. Will suck if it's something that requires surgery. Hopefully it's like when Carrasco got hit in the arm by the line drive and we were sure his career was done and he missed like 2 days.
November 17, 2014 - 8:56 AM EST
Walters could become an option at third base.....but I just don't think he should sniff a ML roster until he gets a lot more consistent at the plate. He's almost an automatic out right now.
November 17, 2014 - 8:53 AM EST
Does Zach Walters becomes an option at 3b ?
November 17, 2014 - 8:43 AM EST
Huge blow if the injury is as feared. I just wrote last week how the Indians were likely to stick with Chisenhall at 3B because of Urshela being an option right behind him. That still may happen, but the Indians now need a legit backup plan if Urshela is going to miss significant time next year. This is what you don't want to happen in the offseason and is the risk when players participate in winter ball. It's great when they don't get hurt and they get the experience and play well.....but it is tough when a potential injury like this has a big effect on the upcoming season.
November 17, 2014 - 8:38 AM EST

Agreed, the good news is he has experience at the AAA level and is young for that level. True, lateral movement could be lost, plus a season of development. No matter, it is not good news to see a top prospect go down...the Tribe has depth, but they'll need to make an add at 3b if Urshela is out long term.

Any suggestions?

Off the top of my head, Will Middlebrooks would be intriguing, but I'm not sure if he has any options left.
November 17, 2014 - 8:08 AM EST
Here's hoping the injury proves it needs no surgical intervention to correct.. just work.

For the most part, along with a certain degree of confidence loss, a knee injury is almost always accompanied by a permanent loss in lateral motion to at least a very minor degree. There just isn't a means to improve that kind of movement once a traumatic injury occurs... That represents the downside to that kind of injury. The upside can be an intensity in the area of conditioning, not only in the areas near the injury, but the entire core and extremities. The timing for this injury couldn't happen at a worse time. Urshela is clearly on a steep up swinging learning curve, the results of which could land him in the major leagues as early as the 2015 season.. If surgery is needed.. that could set him back to a September maybe and 2016 or forever chance. He's still just 23 and has already had 400 AB's in AAA.. If anything, he's slightly ahead of the age track to the ML's. The potential loss of time could put him slightly behind the age track..

We'll see once the results of his MRI become known...thoughts..?
November 17, 2014 - 7:47 AM EST

This flat stinks. Hoping / praying it's nothing serious (ACL) that causes him to miss significant time. Regardless, hate seeing him go down with an injury.

November 17, 2014 - 7:19 AM EST
Huge blow.

Sign Chris Nelson to a small ML contract, market at 3B is thin, especially RHB 3B.

Soto needs to be on the 40
November 17, 2014 - 2:40 AM EST
Ugh' well that blows.

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