Dec. 5, 2022

By Leif Skodnick

Seventeen days after being traded from the Minnesota Twins to the Los Angeles Angels, Giovanny Urshela returned home to make his winter ball debut in the Liga Professional Colombiana de Beisbol December 5 with the Tigres de Cartagena.

The 6-foot, 215-pound Urshela, who plays third base and shortstop, went 1-for-4 with one RBI in Cartagena’s 7-0 win against Toros de Sincelejo.

Urshela, serving as the designated hitter and batting third, came up in the bottom of the first with a runner on third and grounded out, allowing Roberto Caro to score, giving Tigres a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the third, Urshela grounded out to short. With Caro on first on the bottom of the fifth, Urshela reached base for the first time after grounding into a fielder’s choice. His first winter ball hit in Colombia came in the bottom of the eighth, when he laced a single to left.

This is Urshela’s fourth season playing winter ball, having played for Aguilas del Zulia in Venezuela for the 2014-15 and 2016-17 winter seasons. He tormented the Venezuelan league’s pitching, batting a combined .361 with 100 hits in 277 at bats in 70 games over those two seasons. In 2018-19, Urshela appeared in 26 games with Licey of the Dominican Republic’s winter league, hitting .229 with one home run in 26 games.

Urshela, a native of Cartagena, Colombia, made his major league debut on June 9, 2015 for Cleveland. He bounced back and forth between Cleveland and Class AAA Columbus that season before spending all of 2016 in the minors.

The third baseman finally found full-time major league form in New York in 2019, appearing in 132 games and hitting .315/.355/.534 with 21 home runs and 77 RBI. 

The Yankees shipped Urshela to Minnesota along with catcher Gary Sanchez during March of 2022. Appearing in a career-high 144 games with the Twins, Urshela hit .285/.338/.429 with 13 home runs. The Twins dealt Urshela to the Angels on November 17 for minor league pitcher Alejandro Hidalgo. 

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