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Spring Training Notes 3/22: Tyler Naquin plays in minor league game

After reportedly taking at-bats at minor league camp on Thursday, Tyler Naquin appears to be nearing a Cactus League return at some point this week. The IBI's John Alfes details the latest news and notes from camp...

Bilateral knee soreness will not keep Tyler Naquin sidelined much longer.

The Indians outfielder played in a minor league game alongside Brandon Guyer from the club's spring training facility in Goodyear, Ariz. on Wednesday. 

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- Ever since Michael Brantley returned to game action, Naquin has taken a seat due to soreness in both of his knees over the past seven days. Naquin was labeled as day-to-day but took cuts against MiLB pitchers earlier today.

In addition to Austin Jackson and Abraham Almonte, Naquin is in the mix for a spot on the opening day roster. The 25-year-old is batting .458 (11-for-24) with one home run and five RBIs this spring.

- Giovanny Urshela got the start at shortstop on Wednesday in place of Francisco Lindor, the everyday SS for Team Puerto Rico at the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Despite only playing 64.1 innings defensively in the minor leagues, Urshela made a diving stop and threw out D.J. LeMahieu in the first inning.

The Cartagena, Columbia native has never played an MLB game at the position but could make the big league roster with Jason Kipnis (right shoulder inflammation) out four to five weeks. 

- Brantley is expected to start in left field on Thursday after going 3-for-6 through two contests in 2017. 

"As long as he feels good," said Terry Francona to reporters about Brantley playing on a back-to-back. "We'll all be smiling."

John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.

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