The Cleveland Guardians announced Friday afternoon that Josh Naylor has been activated from the injured list. Left-handed reliever Konnor Pilkington, who made the Opening Day roster but never saw game action, has been optioned to Triple-A Columbus.
Naylor suffered multiple leg fractures in a game at Minnesota last June after colliding with Ernie Clement in the outfield. He recorded 25 plate appearances during his minor league rehab assignment with the Clippers, batting .200 with two doubles and five RBI. Naylor played four games in the outfield, two at first base, and one at designated hitter.
Prior to his injury last season, Naylor was slashing .253/.306/.389 with seven home runs. With Owen Miller red hot at the plate and making the case for everyday at-bats at first base, you will likely see Naylor platooned in right field with Oscar Mercado.
Optioning Pilkington makes perfect sense as the corresponding move. The 24-year-old southpaw has yet to pitch at the Triple-A level and his Opening Day roster spot was due in large part to James Karinchak opening the season on the injured list and Pilkington already holding a 40-man roster spot. Once the Guardians traded Bradley Zimmer to Toronto for reliever Anthony Castro, Pilkington’s days were numbered, as the club would need to shore up their shortened bench.