Guardians lose Steven Kwan to injury amid breakout campaign

Cleveland’s emerging outfielder injured his hamstring over the weekend.

Guardians Steven Kwan injury

The Cleveland Guardians have placed outfielder Steven Kwan on the injured list after the outfielder sustained a hamstring injury this weekend, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today:

“Cleveland Guardians outfielder Steven Kwan, who has had huge role in their fabulous start, will be out 4 weeks with hamstring strain, Guardians say.”

Kwan suffered the injury while running down a fly ball over the weekend. He felt tightness in his hamstring and was pulled from Saturday’s win over the Angels as a precaution. But an MRI revealed the strain and Kwan will continue to get treatment on the injury.

Kwan’s injury is giving the Guardians an opportunity to promote hard-hitting prospect Kyle Manzardo, who has been crushing minor league pitchers this season and will now join a Cleveland lineup that can use some pop in the middle of the lineup.

Manzardo’s reputation as a slugger preceded his arrival in Cleveland.

The 23-year-old was acquired at last year’s trade deadline from Tampa Bay for pitcher Aaron Civale. The Rays were reluctant to part with Manzardo but they needed pitching as the Guardians have been searching for a big bat in the middle of their order.

Manzardo had a strong spring for the Guardians, who had him begin the season at Triple-A Columbus. He’s gotten off to a blazing start, hitting .303 with nine homers, 10 doubles and 20 RBIs in 29 games.

Steven Kwan pacing the Guardians early this season

Cleveland Guardians left fielder Steven Kwan (38) bats during the game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

© Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Guardians have been one of the season’s early surprise teams. Cleveland is off to a 22-12 start, with Kwan a big reason for the team’s success.

Kwan is currently leading the American League in batting average, raking at a .353 clip.

Kwan also is one of baseball’s best defensive outfielders. Last year, he won his second straight Gold Glove with the Guardians.

Last year, Kwan spoke about his unconventional approach to the plate that has helped him become one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball.

“I don’t mind hitting from behind in the count,” Kwan said. “I have the confidence where, if I’m down 0-2, it’s not like, ‘I’m screwed.’ I know what (the pitcher’s) idea is and I can battle from there.”

“I’m usually going to put the ball in play so I have to be really selective at what I’m going to swing at. I’m usually looking at one specific pitch. If I don’t get that, that’s fine. But I don’t have the luxury of taking a big ‘hack and missing,” Kwan said. “Usually, I’m going to make contact, and I don’t want to make weak contact on my first swing.”

Steven Kwan has emerged as a diamond in the rough for the Guardians thanks to a unique style of hitting. The Guardians seem to appreciate his play style as the offense follows his lead.

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