The Blue Jays were dealt a serious blow on Sunday as star shortstop Bo Bichette was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right knee sprain.
Bichette was held out of the lineup in Game 1 of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Rays, which started with the resumption of Saturday’s suspended game. The Blue Jays were still running tests on Bichette at the time, including an MRI, before making the announcement following their 3-2 loss in the opener.
“I don’t really have a timeline,” manager Charlie Montoyo said. “It just wasn’t good news for everybody when we heard it today.”
Making things even tougher, the Blue Jays dropped Game 2 on Sunday, as well, 7-5. After fighting back to take a late lead following the early ejections of starter Matt Shoemaker and Montoyo, a defensive miscue from Teoscar Hernandez allowed the Rays to tie the game at five before they finally stole it back in extras.
Montoyo said early Sunday that Bichette was doing his regular stretching before going to hit on Saturday when he felt it, but he didn't notify the Blue Jays until after the game, which was cut short by rain midway through the fourth inning.
Through 13 games this season, Bichette is hitting .356 with an OPS of 1.065, including an incredible 5-for-5 performance with a home run and two stolen bases on Wednesday against the Marlins. Bichette also missed a couple of games earlier this season with a minor left hamstring issue.
In a corresponding move, the Blue Jays activated infielder Santiago Espinal, who is capable of playing shortstop, second base, third base and the outfield. Espinal made a strong impression at both Spring Training and Summer Camp, and he had appeared in five games this season before being optioned to the club's alternate training site on Aug. 6.
In Game 2 on Sunday, the Blue Jays went with Brandon Drury at shortstop, where he started three games in 2019.
This represents a major challenge for the Blue Jays, whose lineup was just starting to catch fire in Buffalo. So much of that started with Bichette hitting No. 2 in the lineup, with Montoyo calling him a “star in the making” and Randal Grichuk recently saying that he thinks the 22-year-old has a chance to be the best Blue Jays hitter of all time.