MESA, Ariz. -- Cristian Guzman and Fred Lewis would have had a hard time cracking the Indians' Opening Day roster under normal circumstances, but injuries late in camp essentially eliminated them from the Indians' spring competitions.
On Wednesday, Cleveland released Guzman and reassigned Lewis to Minor League camp, trimming the roster down to 41 players with less than a week left before the team departs Arizona. Guzman is dealing with a right hamstring injury and Lewis only recently returned from a right-elbow issue.
"It's very hard when you come into camp to make a club and you're hurt over the last 10-15 days of Spring Training," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "That's a crucial time. Unfortunately, it happened to them. Both were pros. Those guys came in here and they knew what they had up against them."
Guzman, 34, was vying for a chance to earn a spot on the Indians' bench as a utility infielder. After missing all of last season due to a right-shoulder injury, Guzman signed a Minor League contract with the Tribe and hit .217 in 10 Cactus League games this spring. He exited Friday's game due to the hamstring injury and plans on rehabbing in the Dominican Republic for now.
The 31-year-old Lewis, who hit .230 in 81 games for the Reds last year, entered camp as a non-roster invitee competing for a chance to earn either the starting left field job or a reserve role off the bench. He hit just .200 in nine Cactus League games and missed another nine due to tendinitis in his throwing elbow.
"It was very frustrating, as far as the timing of it," Lewis said of his injury. "But, I don't think that had a part of it."
While Lewis has technically been re-assigned to the Minors, the Indians have given him the option to request to be released. That said, Acta was not sure whether Cleveland would have the ability to keep Lewis in the fold at Triple-A Columbus.
"We gave him the option," Acta said. "But I don't know if we do have room in Triple-A."