A couple of young pieces that the Cleveland Guardians are hoping to build a big future around are getting healthier after suffering season-ending injuries earlier this year.

Cleveland Guardians 24-year-old outfielder Josh Naylor underwent surgery back on July 2nd to repair multiple fractures and ligament tearing to his right leg and ankle, which ended his 2021 campaign. Naylor was injured at Target Field in Minnesota when he and teammate Ernie Clement collided on a pop up in right field.

Naylor has been out at the team’s Goodyear Development Complex rehabbing and has advanced in his rehab to some treadmill work. He was just cleared to get some cage work in this week. Nothing is guaranteed, but Naylor looks like he is making tremendous progress and could be ready for the 2022 season. Whether that's in the outfield, at first base or as a designated hitter to start the season is yet to be seen. Cleveland could also choose to start Naylor out at Triple-A Columbus as he still has three minor league options left on his contract.

Another young player rehabbing after a shoulder injury that ended his season early in 2021 is the team's top prospect according to MLBpipline in 22-year-old shortstop Tyler Freeman. Freeman was off to a terrific start in 2021 at Double-A Akron, hitting .323 with a .842 OPS over 41 games.

Freeman originally injured his shoulder during an at bat while with Double-A Akron back on June 23 vs. Erie. At the time, Freeman took three weeks off to rest the injury along with receiving a cortisone injection. He returned to the Akron lineup on July 18th vs. Harrisburg, but that only lasted five games when the shoulder pain flared up again. 

On August 9th, Tyler underwent shoulder surgery to repair a small tear in his left labrum and clean up things from a prior labrum surgery he had on October 4th, 2018 after his first year or professional baseball.

Freeman is currently on pace to be ready when MLB spring training starts. He began to ramp up activities this week out in Goodyear. He is hoping to start swinging a bat again shortly, possibly be the end of the week. Freeman has been living out in Arizona at the team's developmental complex since undergoing his surgery. 

It's important to note that the injury to Freeman is not on his throwing shoulder. The greatest test for Freeman will be if or how it affects his production at the plate not on defense. The Guardians and Freeman are very optimistic he can return to full health.

Look for the young shortstop prospect (if fully healthy) to begin the 2022 season at Triple-A Columbus, with an outside chance the organization could start him back at Double-A Akron. It's also quite possible Tyler could make his MLB debut at some point during the upcoming season. If that does happen, it will most likely take place sometime during the second half of the season.

This article first appeared on FanNation Cleveland Baseball Insider and was syndicated with permission.

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