Rookie Urshela holding his own offensively
PITTSBURGH -- With anything, familiarity often creates comfort. That appears to be the case for rookie third baseman Giovanny Urshela, who has held his own offensively as he has gained more at-bats and experience with the Indians.
Nearly a month into his Major League career, Urshela has displayed the stellar defense that was expected from him at the hot corner. On top of that, though, the young infielder has given Cleveland a promising hitter who has shown a mature approach at the plate.
"You're starting to see more of who he is," Indians hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo said. "His strength is the opposite way, but if he catches a ball out in front, he'll pull it. I think early on, he was a little more jumpy, had a little nerves and getting off his back side. Lately, he's been staying back much better. He still uses the other side, which is nice to see from a young guy."
Heading into Sunday's game against the Pirates, the 23-year-old Urshela was riding a 13-game hitting streak and had a respectable .274/.321/.356 slash line through his 23 games with the Tribe. The third baseman's two home runs represented his only extra-base hits entering Sunday, but he has shown a knack for consistent contact out of the lower half of the Indians' lineup.
"I've been thrilled," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He seems, to me, which is really encouraging, that the more he plays, it seems like he's becoming more aggressive at the plate. Defensively, he just seems like he's everywhere."
Francona added that Urshela has adjusted well to the speed of play in the Majors.
"He seems to have a knack for the timing of the game," Francona said. "Sometimes, guys get to the Major Leagues, and the game looks like it's going a thousand miles an hour. It kind of looks like he's staying with it, if not ahead, which is very impressive for young players."
Urshela said it has helped to be a regular within Cleveland's lineup.
"The more I play, the more confident and comfortable I feel," Urshela said. "I'm learning a lot about how they try to [pitch to me] up here."