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Barfield has inside track for utility role?

By jcfortun Published: February 9, 2009 beat writer Anthony Castrovince answered his mail bag today with a few interesting tidbits for the upcoming season:

Josh Barfield now has the inside track on the utility role, according to Castrovince.

As of this writing, Barfield appears to have the inside track on a bench job, but he'll have to show the Indians he can play more than one position. As previously reported, they plan to try him in the outfield, and general manager Mark Shapiro said Barfield will also get a look at shortstop and third base.

With Luis Valbuena expected to be the starting second baseman at Triple-A Columbus and the Indians not expected to carry a fifth outfielder, it seems there would be little incentive to use one of Barfield's options and send him out. Then again, it's difficult to speculate how he'd adjust to a bench role.

There was also this disheartening tidbit about minor league pitcher Rob Bryson, who was acquired by the Indians in the CC Sabathia trade:

Bryson had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder and will be on the shelf until at least May or June. The Indians insist they did not acquire damaged goods in Bryson, who was one of four players brought in by the CC Sabathia trade. He injured his shoulder about two weeks after the trade was made.

Castrovince also says, depending on how the season plays out, Mark DeRosa could end up In the outfield.

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