Guardians’ Josh Naylor completes long journey back from ankle surgery

Guardians outfielder / first baseman Josh Naylor sustained one of the more gruesome baseball injuries in recent memory when he collided with infielder Ernie Clement last June in Minnesota.

The resulting ankle surgery was extensive and the team had very little in the way of a timeline for when he might return. His 2021 season was over, and much of his 2022 was in doubt.

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After a nine-month absence, Naylor made his way back to the field on Friday night. It took months of rehab, sitting on the couch and even hitting sock balls pitched by his mom because it was all he could do for a while.

The goal was to return by Opening Day. He ended up so close, but the Guardians had him begin the season on the injured list and playing with Triple-A Columbus in an effort to get him another week’s worth of games in a controlled environment.

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