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Roster decision looms on rehabbing Urshela

MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- The only silver lining to the right hamstring injury that sidelined Gio Urshela near the end of Spring Training was it allowed the Indians to delay the decision about his place on the roster. That decision, however, is once again looming for Cleveland.

Urshela remains on the 10-day disabled list, but the utility man is on the mend and has logged seven Minor League rehab games with Triple-A Columbus, making appearances at all four infield positions. Urshela can continue playing for the Clippers over the next six days, but the Indians will need to make a decision about his status by Thursday.

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CLEVELAND -- The only silver lining to the right hamstring injury that sidelined Gio Urshela near the end of Spring Training was it allowed the Indians to delay the decision about his place on the roster. That decision, however, is once again looming for Cleveland.

Urshela remains on the 10-day disabled list, but the utility man is on the mend and has logged seven Minor League rehab games with Triple-A Columbus, making appearances at all four infield positions. Urshela can continue playing for the Clippers over the next six days, but the Indians will need to make a decision about his status by Thursday.

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"He's got about a week left before we have to make a decision," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We're trying to let him play a little bit more, because we do have to make a decision -- one that we know is going to hurt a little bit."

The issue facing the Indians is the same one that complicated the roster construction prior to Opening Day. Both Urshela and Erik Gonzalez are out of Minor League options, but Cleveland only needs to carry one as its utility man off the bench. When the hamstring issue flared on Urshela in late March, the Indians placed him on the DL and gave the bench job to Gonzalez.

Heading into Friday's action, Gonzalez had gone 2-for-9 in nine games for the Indians, appearing sporadically as a backup for all four infield positions. Gonzalez is a shortstop by trade and has been a better hitter throughout his career than Urshela. While both are sound defenders, Urshela has the edge in that department and can also play up the middle, even with a background mostly at third.

In 18 Cactus League games during the spring, Urshela hit .500 (21-for-42) with three home runs, six doubles and a 1.369 OPS. He has cooled off since returning to the lineup for Triple-A Columbus, hitting .238 (5-for-21) with a .606 OPS through seven rehab games.

"He hasn't swung the bat to the point where you're like, 'OK, let's do something,'" Francona said. "I guess we all figure the more he plays, it gives us time to make a decision."

UMPS CARE auction underway
Major League Baseball umpires are offering up more than 300 items -- including autographed sports memorabilia, one-of-a-kind VIP experiences, and upgraded ticket packages -- during its 10th Annual UMPS CARE Charities Online Auction. The auction is currently underway at MLB.com/UmpsCare and closes at 10 p.m. ET on Monday.

Some of the items up for bid include signed bats, cleats, jerseys, photos and baseballs from some of the biggest stars in baseball. There are also opportunities to watch batting practice up close on the field at many MLB ballparks, hotel stays with game tickets, opportunities to have lunch with an MLB umpire, suites and tickets from Minor League Baseball clubs, golf foursomes and more.

All proceeds from the Online Auction support UMPS CARE Charities youth programs to provide Major League Baseball experiences for children awaiting adoption, Build-A-Bear Workshop® experiences for hospitalized children coping with serious illnesses, college scholarships for deserving young adults who were adopted as children, and financial assistance for families in need.

"Each year, thanks to the support from our friends in Major League Baseball and throughout the sports world, we get some fantastic items for our auction, and this year is no exception," said Gary Darling, a former MLB umpire and board president for UMPS CARE Charities. "This is the biggest fundraising initiative that we have to help so many children in need, and we can't thank everyone enough for all of the support. Please tell all of your friends, bid early and bid often to help this great cause."

Worth noting
• Francona said the Indians would probably delay their decision on the second starter for Thursday's doubleheader against the Blue Jays until after this weekend's games against the Mariners.

• Francona remained optimistic on Friday that left-hander Andrew Miller (10-day DL, left hamstring strain) could get back on a mound in the near future.

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, Gio Urshela