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Guardians recall Gabriel Arias from Triple-A ahead of Yankees doubleheader

Is Arias here to stay?

Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Guardians - Game One Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Cleveland Guardians have made a flurry of moves ahead of their doubleheader against the Yankees today, most notably calling up shortstop Gabriel Arias from Triple-A. Cleveland also called up Kirk McCarty for the doubleheader, activated (and optioned) James Karinchak, placed Oscar Gonzalez on the 10-day injured list, and designated Tobias Myers for assignment.

This will be Arias’ second stint with the MLB squad this season; his first was as the 27th man in a doubleheader and he was immediately sent back down after. That’s not the case this time, however, as Kirk McCarty is the designated 27th man to start in Game 1 this afternoon against the Yankees. It appears, at least right now, that Arias is here to stay.

Following his 1-for-8 performance in a doubleheader on April 20, Arias was sent back to Triple-A where he played for a little over a week and broke his hand. Arias underwent surgery on the broken hand and began playing in rehab games on June 16, eventually making it back to Triple-A on June 25 where he has been since.

Arias is slashing .190/.258/.345 with the Columbus Clippers this season, but his specialty is defense at the shortstop position — offense is a bonus here, and he’s showed he can hit for some power in the minors before (career-high 17 home runs in 2019). He’ll sit on the bench in Game 1 with Amed Rosario and Andrés Giménez manning their usual positions in the middle of the infield.

While I’m certainly excited to see Arias get an extended look in the majors, calling him up right now is an ... odd choice. His move seemingly corresponds with Oscar Gonzalez, an outfielder, going to the injured list with an abdominal injury. That leaves the Guardians with only three pure outfielders on the roster (unless you include Franmil Reyes, which no one should). Something strange is going on.

To be fair, the Guardians 40-man roster isn’t exactly littered with outfield prospects ready to come in and play. That was Richie Palacios before the season, and he has already played most of the season in the majors. So maybe this was out of necessity and not wanting to bring up Nolan Jones without a guaranteed spot somewhere.

Arias figures to start at shortstop for Game 2 of the doubleheader, and beyond that, I guess we’ll wait and see.

As for Gonzalez, who hasn’t played since Wednesday with abdominal tightness, it’ll be at least another week before we see him and his SpongeBob intro music again. The surprising rookie has slashed .285/.315/.431 for a 112 wRC+ and two home runs. The strikeout issues that were expected coming out of Triple-A are starting to show as opposing pitchers throw him more off-speed and breaking pitches, but it’s far too early to give up on him.