Urshela reflects on 'unbelievable' time at Classic

Urshela reflects on 'unbelievable' time at Classic

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Giovanny Urshela was back in the Indians' clubhouse Tuesday morning, sitting at a table and playing cards with pitcher Danny Salazar. After a brief departure from Cleveland's camp to play for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic, Urshela was back to his regular spring routine.

Before the Tribe's morning workout, Urshela smiled wide when asked about his Classic experience. No, the Colombians did not advance as far as the young third baseman hoped they would in the tournament, but Urshela felt he learned a lot in his brief time with his home country's team.

"It's very different emotions," Urshela said of the environment at World Baseball Classic games. "Twenty people feels like 100 people in the stadium. Everybody is screaming. It was fun. It was an unbelievable experience there."

Urshela is the first of Cleveland's participating players from Major League camp to return from the Classic.

First baseman Chris Colabello, who was playing for Team Italy, was scheduled to be back in Goodyear with the Indians come Wednesday. Shortstop Francisco Lindor, catcher Roberto Perez and Joseph Colon are still playing for Puerto Rico, while reliever Andrew Miller (Team USA) and first baseman Carlos Santana (Dominican Republic) also have teams alive in Pool F, which begins play Tuesday night.

Urshela's diving catch

While Urshela was away, the Indians shut down second baseman Jason Kipnis (right shoulder) for two weeks, creating a potential Opening Day roster opportunity for someone in camp. Cleveland plans on keeping Jose Ramirez at third base, but if the team changes its mind and moves Ramirez to second, Urshela's chances of making the roster would increase dramatically.

Urshela was Cleveland's third baseman for 81 games in 2015 -- becoming the first Colombian-born third baseman in baseball history -- but Ramirez supplanted him at that spot last year. Indians manager Terry Francona said it is important for the team to make sure Urshela stays focused on his development, even if he is blocked at the big league level.

"We need to make sure that his development doesn't stall," Francona said. "I think for a while last year it did. We actually have talked to him about that. ... It's something we need to prevent, because he's got too much of a chance to be an everyday Major League third baseman."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.