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Guardians center fielder Myles Straw sent to minors, team still expects him to impact 2024 season

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Myles Straw's elite defense isn't enough anymore for the Guardians.

The center fielder was assigned outright to Triple-A Columbus after being waived last week by Cleveland. The move was posted by Major League Baseball on his transaction list Tuesday night after days of unclarity.

Straw, acquired by Cleveland in a 2021 trade from Houston, met last weekend with Chris Antonetti, the team's president of baseball operations, to make sure he understood he's still part of the team's plans. As a player with at least three years of major league service, Straw had the right to refuse the assignment and elect to become a free agent.

“We expect Myles to impact our team this year,” Antonetti told Cleveland.com. "Our hope and belief is that Myles is going to be a big part of our team this year.”

For now, Straw will play for the Columbus Clippers, who open International League play Friday at St. Paul, Minnesota.

While Straw has been among the best defensive outfielders in the American League the past few seasons — he won a Gold Glove in 2022 — the Guardians need more offensive production from the 29-year-old.

Last season, he batted .238 with 18 doubles, one homer and 29 RBIs in 147 games. But Straw seemed to come up consistently in big spots and rarely delivered.

Straw signed a $25 million, five-year contract with Cleveland in 2022. He's signed through the 2026 season with the Guardians holding options for 2027 and 2028. Straw is still owed $19.25 million, making a waiver claim unlikely. He gets $4

With Straw no longer in the mix, first-year Guardians manager Stephen Vogt is expected to use several players in center field, including Tyler Freeman, Ramon Laureano and Estevan Florial, a former top prospect with the New York Yankees acquired during an offseason trade.

Vogt makes his major league managing debut on Thursday against the Athletics. He spent six seasons over two stints with Oakland before retiring after the 2022 season.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb