Steven Kwan returns to Guardians' lineup after being out with hamstring injury

CLEVELAND (AP) — The AL Central-leading Cleveland Guardians got one of their key players back Friday when two-time Gold Glove-winning left fielder Steven Kwan was activated from the 10-day injured list.

Kwan had been sidelined since May 5 with a strained left hamstring. The leadoff hitter had an AL-best .353 batting average to go with a .407 on-base percentage through 32 games when he was injured chasing a foul ball during a game against the Los Angeles Angels.

Outfielder Estevan Florial was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for Kwan.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Kwanie back,” Guardians manager Stephen Vogt said before his team opened a three-game series with the Washington Nationals. “He’s worked really hard. It’s a credit to him and the staff and everybody who had a hand in getting him back quickly. You can’t say enough about what he means for us in the leadoff spot.”

The Guardians have thrived without Kwan, though. They were 17-7 while he was on the IL after starting the season 20-12. Cleveland has the second-best record in the AL at 37-19.

Center fielder Tyler Freeman had batted at the top of the Guardians’ order for 16 straight games until Friday. He had a .258 average and. 356 on-base percentage during that span.

“I’ve got to give Tyler a shoutout for what he did in that leadoff spot,” Vogt said.

Third baseman Jose Ramirez has also helped make up for Kwan’s absence with a torrid May. In 27 games, he is hitting .294 with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs.

Florial, 26, batted .173 with three home runs in 36 games. Cleveland acquired him from the New York Yankees in a trade on Dec. 26.