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Indians release Melvin Upton Jr., Ryan Hanigan

Both players signed minor-league deals with the team this winter.

MLB: Spring Training-Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Dodgers Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Indians announced today that they have released outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. and catcher Ryan Hanigan. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com shared the announcement.

Upton, 33, was hoping to compete for an outfield role with the Indians, but has suffered through a tumultuous spring, batting just .189 and slugging .297. After spending the 2017 season recovering from thumb surgery with the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate, Upton will continue to search for the production that he enjoyed with the Rays in 2011 and 2012, when he hit a combined 51 home runs.

With Upton out of the picture, the Indians will likely continue with Brad Zimmer and Lonnie Chisenhall in the outfield, while hoping Michael Brantley and Brandon Guyer are healthy for Opening Day.

Hanigan, 37, struggled through a similarly rough spring as Upton, batting just .154 with an identical slugging percentage. The 11-year veteran hit two home runs with an OPS+ of 67 with the Rockies last season. Known mainly for his defensive abilities, Hanigan owns a career slugging percentage of just .334.

The Indians give up on Hanigan, but maintain their depth behind the plate. Roberto Perez, Yan Gomes and Francisco Mejia will all likely see time at catcher this season.