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Guardians acquire catcher Sandy Leon from Reds; Austin Hedges placed on 7-day IL

Akron Beacon Journal
Akron Beacon Journal
 2022-06-28

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The Guardians are doing some shuffling with their catchers.

On Tuesday, Cleveland acquired catcher Sandy Leon from the Cincinnati Reds for cash considerations and placed Austin Hedges on the 7-day injured list with concussion symptoms.

The team isn't exactly sure when Hedges sustained the injury. Hedges passed the needed concussion tests, but head athletic trainer James Quinlan and manager Terry Francona still didn't quite feel comfortable running him back out there and decided to err on the side of caution.

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"[Monday] was kind of a hectic day," Francona said. "If it's an ankle or a quad, [maybe it's OK] ... But when you're talking about somebody's head, we finally said we're not sure what the right answer is, but we know what the wrong one is. So we said we can't put you in a game. Because he just wasn't himself. "

With Hedges out, Bryan Lavastida nursing an injury in Columbus and the team not wanting to bring up Bo Naylor after he was just recently called up to Triple-A, the Guardians were in need of someone who would handle a short-term backup role to Luke Maile. The team turned to the Reds and Leon, a catcher with whom many pitchers on the roster are already familiar. Leon was with Cleveland in 2020 and again was in camp this spring, though he didn't make the roster.

Leon's professionalism during a tough conversation at the end of the spring helped make his return possible.

"Most likely this is short term. We've all seen things change," Francona said. "So we felt like getting somebody our pitchers know hopefully will be kind of seamless. Sandy was here in spring training. He was here the year with COVID 2.0. There's a lot of familiarity there.

"To take it a step further, when we decided to go the direction we did in the spring, I know he wasn't happy. I don't blame him. It's a good lesson for young players. Here's a guy who was there, he's a veteran, he was in that alt camp since early February and he was still professional when we talked to him. Because if he wasn't, or he burned some bridges he may not be back. Yet, you're looking up three months later and he's back in there giving me a hug and ready to go. We're excited to have him. It's a pretty good lesson."

The Guardians also recalled pitchers Anthony Castro and Konnor Pilkington (as the 27th man for Tuesday's doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins) and designated Ian Gibaut for assignment.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com. Read more about the Guardians at www.beaconjournal.com/sports/cleveland-guardians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Guardians acquire catcher Sandy Leon from Reds; Austin Hedges placed on 7-day IL

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