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Indians option Yandy Diaz, release Melvin Upton Jr. in latest spring training cuts

Good news for Giovany Urshela.

Divisional Round - New York Yankees v Cleveland Indians - Game Five Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Cleveland Indians have announced their latest spring training roster cuts, per’s Jordan Bastian. Most notably, third baseman Yandy Diaz was optioned to Triple-A and outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. was released. The roster has been trimmed to 39 as of these cuts.

Along with Diaz, catcher Eric Haase and shortstop Eric Stamets were optioned to the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. That pretty much leaves the backup infielder job to Giovanny Urshela or Erik Gonzalez, both of whom are out of options. Urshela has been arguably the Tribe’s best hitter this spring, going 20-for-41 with three home runs and three doubles. If this is a sign that his bat has finally come around (keep in mind these are spring training numbers), it’s a no-brainer to keep him on the roster. That’s a big if, though.

The Indians signed Upton Jr. to a minor league contract last December, but he’s struggled mightily in March as he attempts to return from an injury plagued 2017 season. He may eventually lost out to veteran Rajai Davis or even rookie Greg Allen. Both remain in major league camp, and both have the potential to be contributors for the Indians in 2018. Also, Tyler Naquin still exists.

Outfielder Brandon Barnes, right-handed pitcher Preston Claiborne, right-handed pitcher Stephen Fife, right-handed pitcher Cam Hill, right-handed pitcher Neil Ramirez, and infielder Richie Shaffer were also assigned to minor league camp. Catcher Ryan Hanigan was released as well.