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Urshela will likely open season on DL

Carrasco exits with foot contusion after comebacker
MLB.com @MLBastian

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With Opening Day a week away, the competition for the Indians' utility job has hit a snag. Giovanny Urshela was in prime position to win that bench role, but a right hamstring issue will likely result in a season-opening stint on the disabled list.

"There's certainly that possibility," Indians manager Terry Francona said on Wednesday before the Tribe's 12-8 loss to the Royals.

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With Opening Day a week away, the competition for the Indians' utility job has hit a snag. Giovanny Urshela was in prime position to win that bench role, but a right hamstring issue will likely result in a season-opening stint on the disabled list.

"There's certainly that possibility," Indians manager Terry Francona said on Wednesday before the Tribe's 12-8 loss to the Royals.

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Urshela, who tweaked his hamstring while legging out a double in Monday's game against the Giants, could be sidelined for 10-14 days, according to Francona. The Indians are scheduled to open the regular season in eight days, on March 29, in Seattle.

Francona described the injury as a "lower grade pull" of the hamstring.

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If Urshela is unable to return in time for the start of the season, that would make Erik Gonzalez the leading candidate to begin the year as the Tribe's utility man. The Indians have been closely monitoring both players, knowing that there was a risk of losing one at the end of camp due to neither having Minor League options remaining. A DL stint for Urshela might delay that potential scenario.

Gonzalez, who is a shortstop by trade, can move around the infield and has hit .306 with a .708 OPS through 16 Cactus League games. Urshela has manned all four infield positions and hit .500 with three homers, six doubles and a 1.369 OPS in 18 Cactus League games.

"He's had a really good camp, my goodness," Francona said of Urshela. "He's played first, second, third and short, and I think he's hitting [.500]. He's had a good camp. ... I think Erik has better range. I think Gio's a gifted defensive player wherever you put him."

Carrasco hit by comebacker
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco left his start against the Royals on Wednesday night with a left foot contusion after being struck by a sharp comebacker from Cheslor Cuthbert in the fifth inning. Carrasco allowed six runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings, in which he walked one, hit two batters, allowed two homers and finished with no strikeouts. Francona said Carrasco seemed OK after the incident, noting that the pitcher was already nearing the end of his outing.

"He got hit with a ball kind of on the top side of his foot," Francona said. "He was already at 71 [pitches]. ... We couldn't let him walk him off. [We'd] rather let him go back and ice it, because he wasn't going to go much more anyway."

Video: KC@CLE: Carrasco exits after being hit by comebacker

Other injury updates
• Center fielder Bradley Zimmer (mild left groin tightness) is scheduled to return to the Tribe's lineup on Thursday against the Padres. According to Francona, Zimmer could have played Wednesday, but the team opted instead to give the outfielder an extra day of rest.

• Outfielder Brandon Guyer (left wrist) has played in two Minor League games and is "doing pretty well," per Francona. The manager noted that Guyer still feels some minor discomfort on occasion, but continues to show improvement with more at-bats.

• Right-hander Danny Salazar (right shoulder inflammation) had a good day of throwing on Tuesday, per Francona. The pitcher continues to get closer to a mound session.

Video: CLE@SEA: Encarnacion hits an RBI single up the middle

Quotable
"I think he doesn't like Spring Training very much. But he's gotten more at-bats this spring. He knew, maybe even though he didn't want them, he knew he was probably going to get them. He's done fine. I think we're stating the obvious when I say we hope he doesn't get off to a start like he did last year. But if he does, we know that he's tough enough of a kid and a good enough player that he's going to get to his numbers, which are important. I think the fact that he's been here for a year will help. He's not trying to prove anything coming out of the gate." -- Francona, on Edwin Encarnacion's slow spring at the plate

Worth noting
• Francona noted that veteran first baseman Mike Napoli (non-roster invitee) has an opt-out clause in his contract for Thursday. Under the circumstances, Francona and Chris Antonetti, the Indians' president of baseball operations, planned on meeting with Napoli on Wednesday to go over his options.

"The next step is for him to talk to Chris a little bit more to figure out what he wants to do," Francona said, "[And] what's available as far as the organization goes. Obviously, we think a ton of Nap and respect him a lot. There's just a lot of unknowns."

Video: CIN@CLE: Allen makes a great catch in right-center

• Rookie Greg Allen remains in camp with the Indians, who are considering a range of options for their backup outfield jobs. Allen is still developing as a hitter, but he offers plus speed and above-average defense as a center fielder. Francona said the Indians are weighing those components in their evaluations. He is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the club's No. 9 prospect.

"He's kind of a unique guy that you feel like he can help you win, while he's developing," Francona said. "That's a hard thing to do, but he's such a mature kid. He plays defense and he's a very smart baserunner. There's still a chance for him to help you win ballgames while he's still trying to figure out what type of hitter he is. He's still a work in progress at the plate."

• Like Napoli, veteran outfielder Rajai Davis -- in the mix for an Opening Day outfield job -- has an opt-out clause in his Minor League contract for Thursday. Francona and Antonetti were scheduled to meet with Davis on Wednesday to go over his situation, with news likely to follow on Thursday.

Up next
Right-hander Trevor Bauer is scheduled to take the mound for the Tribe in a 4:05 p.m. ET Cactus League clash with the Padres on Thursday at Goodyear Ballpark. The Indians' late-inning duo of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen are among the pitchers slated to follow Bauer out of the bullpen. The matchup will be available live on Gameday Audio.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Giovanny Urshela