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Vlad Jr. out of lineup, but should return soon

Rookie was hit by pitch on left hand Friday; Kingham joins bullpen
@alysonfooter
June 15, 2019

HOUSTON -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was not in the lineup on Saturday after suffering a left hand contusion during the series opener in Houston, but he gave the Blue Jays reason for optimism when he took a round of batting practice in the cage seemingly without issue. Jays manager Charlie

HOUSTON -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was not in the lineup on Saturday after suffering a left hand contusion during the series opener in Houston, but he gave the Blue Jays reason for optimism when he took a round of batting practice in the cage seemingly without issue.

Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said after the game that Guerrero was likely to be back in the lineup for Sunday's finale with the Astros.

The third baseman was plunked on the left hand by a Gerrit Cole fastball in the first inning of the Blue Jays' 15-2 loss to the Astros on Friday. He initially stayed in the game but was removed in the next inning before Toronto took the field on defense.

Guerrero's hand was wrapped in a bandage when he arrived to the clubhouse on Saturday, but after receiving treatment, he reported feeling better. He looked to be swinging freely during BP prior to Saturday's game.

"I feel very good today," he said through an interpreter.

Guerrero said he wasn't worried when he was initially hit by the pitch, but after it started to swell up, he became a little more alarmed.

"I thought it was just a bruise, but the next inning, when I went to the field, I couldn't close my glove very well," Guerrero said. "That's when I worried a little bit."

Kingham activated

Right-handed pitcher Nick Kingham, whom the Blue Jays acquired in a trade with the Pirates on Thursday, has joined the team in Houston, and was activated prior to Saturday's game. He pitched the sixth and seventh innings of Toronto's 7-2 loss, allowing two runs on five hits.

To make room for Kingham on the roster, Toronto optioned left-hander Thomas Pannone to Triple-A Buffalo.

Kingham, who has experience as a starter and reliever, will join the Blue Jays' bullpen for now. He can fill a long reliever role, and, as he builds innings, could be considered as a rotation piece in the future.

In 14 appearances for the Pirates this season -- four starts and 10 in relief -- Kingham has a 9.87 ERA over 34 2/3 innings.

Injury updates

The Blue Jays provided injury/rehab updates on the following players:

Clay Buchholz (right elbow flexor strain): Continues to progress with strengthening program with no issues.

Ryan Borucki (left elbow inflammation): Continues mound progression with no issues. He is scheduled to throw a live batting practice session for the first time on Saturday in Florida.

David Phelps (Tommy John surgery): Expected to be activated soon, after throwing back-to-back days in a rehab assignment last Wednesday and Thursday. Phelps threw a bullpen session on Saturday in Houston.

Dalton Pompey (concussion): Continues all baseball activity and will be reevaluated for rehab game progression next week.

Devon Travis (left knee surgery): Progressing with lower body strengthening, but not engaging in baseball activities at this time.

Jacob Waguespack (right shoulder strain): Threw live BP with no issues; will pitch two innings Sunday with Buffalo.

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.