Guyer had been on the disabled list since May 23 (retroactive to May 20) while dealing with a left cervical strain suffered on May 19 in Houston when he was elbowed by a fan while pursuing a foul ball into the stands. His progress through a rehab assignment was slowed when he was hit by a pitch on the hand on Sunday while playing with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers.
The Indians have had to tend to several roster related questions involving their outfield mix as players returned to health and were ready to return to the 25-man roster. Bradley Zimmer temporarily rejoined the team on June 1, only to be optioned to the minors days later when Lonnie Chisenhall was activated on June 5. Guyer’s return cleared the third outfielder from the list, and Tyler Naquin is getting close to being activated as well. He could be optioned back to the minors, but had just hit a hot stretch at the plate before landing on the shelf.
Veterans Cabrera and Rajai Davis were thought to be the two most likely candidates for the transaction on Thursday, as neither has performed all that well during their opportunities this season. The slumping Greg Allen could have also been in the mix, but with no true center fielder on the roster, it would have put the Indians’ defense at risk. The remaining Davis and Allen could be subject to risk come Naquin’s return.
The Indians, who signed Cabrera to a minor league deal on May 1, purchased his contract from Columbus on May 20 ahead of an opt-out date in the contract’s language. The 33-year-old lasted just three and a half weeks with the Tribe, putting up a .207/.242/.293 line at the plate in 17 games with five doubles and eleven runs batted in. His use had declined since the calendar turned to June, as he went a week between starts at the beginning of the month. Defensively, he had not committed an error in 24 total chances and had recorded two outfield assists, including one on the first ball hit to him to open his 2018 season.
Cleveland has seven days to release or trade Cabrera or place him on irrevocable outright waivers.
The 32-year-old Guyer will get a chance to prove that he belongs once again as he looks up to make up for disappointing numbers at the plate through his first 34 games of action this season. He has provided the Indians lineup with a paltry .157/.255/.325 slash at the plate with five doubles, three homers, and ten RBI. His platoon splits, which factored heavily in Guyer joining the Indians several seasons ago, have provided nothing of note, as he has hit .229 (11-for-48) against left-handers with four doubles, three homers, and nine RBI, but just .031 (1-for-32) against right-handers with a double and one run batted in while striking out 13 times.
During his rehab assignment, he hit just .091 with a .184 on-base percentage in a dozen games between Columbus and Double-A Akron, recording two singles and two solo home runs while walking once.
In an unrelated roster move, the Indians also announced on Thursday that left-handed pitcher Ryan Merritt has resumed a rehab assignment with the Columbus Clippers after previously being shut down and transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
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