Hernández on 10-day IL with oblique strain

September 7th, 2020

The Blue Jays placed their breakout star, , on the 10-day IL on Monday with a left oblique strain, another blow to a club that’s already weathered many in this 2020 playoff race.

Hernández was held out of the lineup on Sunday and Monday as the Blue Jays awaited a diagnosis on what was first described as stiffness in the area of his rib cage. The original MRI was inconclusive as there was still too much swelling in the area, but the Blue Jays chose to make the move prior to Monday’s opener against the Yankees in Buffalo after further testing. The move is retroactive to Sunday.

Over 39 games this season, the right fielder has hit .308 with 14 home runs and a .995 OPS. Replacing his production won’t be easy, and might not be realistic, but the Blue Jays have several ways they can approach this.

With Hernández missing time, Bo Bichette’s coming return is more important than ever. Bichette is taking at-bats as a DH in an intrasquad game at the Blue Jays’ Alternate Training Site in Rochester, N.Y., on Monday and is expected to play the field on Tuesday.

“He has to play in the field at least five innings over there so he can be ready to come back here and play a full game in the big leagues,” Montoyo said.

With Bichette back in the fold at shortstop, the Blue Jays will be able to cover any length of Hernández's absence by using Cavan Biggio in right field, where he played Monday.

With that defensive formation of Bichette at short and Biggio in right, Montoyo expects to use Joe Panik more at second base, which is an easier decision now after the veteran has picked up his production at the plate. Jonathan Villar is also an option at several positions along with Santiago Espinal, while Derek Fisher would still act as the “fourth” outfielder, so there’s no shortage of options.

Bichette was one of the hottest hitters in baseball prior to hitting the IL with a right knee sprain in August, owning a .361 average with five home runs and a 1.063 OPS over 14 games.

Font to IL with Reid-Foley, Davis recalled
Reliever Wilmer Font was also placed on the 10-day IL with a right shin contusion. In corresponding moves, the Blue Jays recalled right-hander Sean Reid-Foley and outfielder Jonathan Davis.

Reid-Foley has pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings for the Blue Jays this season while bouncing on and off the roster, which is an encouraging sign for the young starter. The Blue Jays have had success with Anthony Kay, Thomas Hatch, Ryan Borucki, Julian Merryweather and others in shortened roles this year, so there’s a blueprint for the hard-throwing Reid-Foley to follow. 

In Davis, the Blue Jays add one of their best defensive outfielders in the organization, with the ability to play all three spots. Davis appeared in 37 games last season for the Blue Jays, hitting .181 with a .531 OPS, but could also be used off the bench for his speed on the bases.

Other injury news:

  • No. 1 prospect Nate Pearson (right elbow tightness) is scheduled to throw a side session on Tuesday.
  • Matt Shoemaker (right shoulder inflammation) has been playing catch at 180 feet and threw a “touch and feel bullpen,” per Montoyo.
  • Ken Giles (right forearm strain) will throw another live BP session on Tuesday to “see where he is,” Montoyo said, and he’s expected to be nearing his return. It is possible he’s activated after that.