Infielder fills in at shortstop in his first start with Toronto.
Considered a utility infielder, Urshela has developed a reputation for solid defence on the hot corner. But it’s elsewhere that he believes he could make his mark in Toronto, be it shortstop or second base, where he has played six and four major-league games, respectively.
“I signed as a shortstop, I’ve played shortstop, it’s not that hard for me,” Urshela said.
He played there Saturday, going 1-for-2 with a single and a strikeout before he was replaced by pinch-hitter Richard Urena in the seventh inning of a 5-2 loss to Boston. Martin was at third base on Saturday, with Donaldson serving as the designated hitter.
Toronto has cycled through a number of middle infielders this year, an area the club had looked to improve over the off-season. Solarte and Devon Travis, now in Buffalo, have both manned second base. Aledmys Diaz, currently on the disabled list after spraining his ankle last Sunday, held down shortstop when he was healthy, filling in for the injured Troy Tulowitzki. Diaz started throwing and should begin hitting early next week, but he is not yet running. And Urena, Lourdes Gurriel Jr and Gift Ngoepe, also in Triple-A, have each seen time at both positions.
John Gibbons saw Urshela at third base in Cleveland last year, when he went 2-for-9 in three games against Toronto. The manager said he was “really good” at the position and, while Gibbons called Urshela “not your typical shortstop,” he hopes Toronto can benefit from the Colombia native’s good glove.
“He’s another guy that bounces around, he’s got some energy,” he said. “We didn’t see a whole lot of him (Saturday) but I thought he did a fine job while he was out there. We’ve heard a lot of good things.”