Christian Arroyo Vies For Utility Role

Of the five first-round picks on the Indians’ 40-man roster this spring, the most obscure was 24-year-old second baseman Christian Arroyo, who was the 25th player drafted in 2013, by the Giants out of high school in Brooksville, Fla.

Arroyo hit the ground running in pro ball, hitting .326 in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2013, then .333 in the short-season Northwest League in 2014 and then .304 in the high Class A California League in 2015. In seven minor league seasons he has hit .293 overall.

Following the 2017 season, the Giants dealt Arroyo to the Rays as part of the return for Evan Longoria.

Then the injuries started. In 2018 Arroyo made three trips to the injured list at Triple-A Durham. Last year with Tampa Bay, he was placed on the injured list on June 13 with what became a season-ending right forearm flexor tendon strain.

Prior to that, Arroyo had hit .314/.381/.603 with eight home runs for Durham.

The Indians were impressed enough to trade for Arroyo, while he was on the injured list, sending low Class A outfielder Ruben Cardenas and international bonus pool money to the Rays for Arroyo and righthander Hunter Wood.

Arroyo came to camp hoping to win a spot as a utility infielder.

“He was a pretty big prospect, but some of the injuries have gotten in the way the last couple of years,” said Manager Terry Francona.

Arroyo began his pro career at shortstop, but in his 70 major league games he has started 41 games at third base, 11 at second base and nine at shortstop.

“The more positions he’s able to play, the more interesting he becomes,” Francona said.

At the start of camp Arroyo appeared to be competing with Mike Freeman and Yu Chang for the utility role.

“He came up as a shortstop, then got bigger and injuries got in the way, so he’s played more third base lately,” Francona said. “So third is his best position, then second, but we told him he’ll play some short, too.”

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