3:20pm: Manager Terry Francona tells reporters that an MRI indeed revealed a strained oblique for Naylor (link via Lewis). The team has placed a tentative timetable of three to six weeks on his recovery, but he’ll be evaluated weekly to see if that timeline changes. If it proves to be on the longer end of that recovery window, Naylor would miss the majority of the remaining season.
1:50pm: The Guardians on Friday placed first baseman Josh Naylor and infielder Tyler Freeman on the injured list, tweets Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon-Journal. Cleveland also called up infielder Jose Tena and acquired veteran outfielder Kole Calhoun from the Dodgers in exchange for cash. He’s been selected to the Major League roster. Calhoun was eligible to be traded by virtue of the fact that has not been on a 40-man roster or Major League injured list this season. (You can read more about how to acquire players after the trade deadline here.)
Naylor was scratched from the lineup earlier this week due to an oblique injury and is now sidelined at least 10 days — though even Grade 1 oblique strains can often sideline a player up to a month. The 28-year-old has been enjoying a breakout season, slashing .306/.346/.500 with 15 home runs, 25 doubles and six steals. Naylor looked like a lock to set new career-highs in homers and doubles, topping last season’s respective personal records of 20 and 28. It remains to be seen just how long he’ll be sidelined, but so long as he doesn’t face a lengthy stay on the IL, he still appears in good position to do so. Either way, his excellent production will give him a notable raise over this year’s $3.35MM salary.
Freeman, 24, has yet to receive a chance to settle into a regular role in Cleveland despite long ranking as one of the system’s top prospects. He’s an advanced hitter who’s lacking power but is touted for his excellent contact skills and hit tool. He’s punched out in just 13.8% of his big league plate appearances and is batting .286/.344/.357 in 95 plate appearances this year. The trade of Amed Rosario opened up some additional reps in the Cleveland infield, but Freeman’s shoulder strain will deprive him of further opportunities for the time being.
The veteran Calhoun, 35, was in spring training with the Mariners and has since signed minor league deals with the Yankees and Dodgers. None of those clubs gave the former Angels All-Star a look in the Majors, despite Calhoun doing his best to force the issue. Though he’s struggled to a .208/.269/.343 batting line over the past two big league seasons, Calhoun has posted terrific numbers in Triple-A this season, slashing .297/.376/.530 in 266 plate appearances. He’s swatted nine homers, 17 doubles and five triples — all while walking in just over 10% of his plate appearances and striking out at a lower-than-average 18% clip.
Tena will make his big league debut when he first takes the field. He’s not as touted as some of the Guardians’ other young middle infield but is still a prospect of some note. The 22-year-old had just been bumped up for his Triple-A debut (during which he went 1-for-3 with a double) after hitting .260/.353/.370 in 362 Double-A plate appearances. That stop in Columbus will prove little more than a layover en route to Cleveland. Baseball America ranks Tena 14th among Cleveland prospects, crediting him with an above-average hit tool and speed but below average power. He’s a versatile defender who can capably play any of shortstop, second base or third base.