PITTSBURGH -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was a late scratch from the Blue Jays’ lineup Saturday at PNC Park, as the star first baseman is dealing with left wrist discomfort.
Guerrero had appeared in all 33 games for the Blue Jays this season, and he went 1-for-4 with an RBI single in Toronto’s 4-0 win in the series opener Friday, which snapped a five-game losing streak and the club’s poorest stretch of play this year.
There was no clear or obvious injury to Guerrero in Friday’s game, but there’s always a heightened sense of worry when his name is involved. The first baseman has bounced back in a big way this season after a 2022 that was below his high standards, driving the ball with more force and looking more relaxed at the plate. Entering Saturday, Guerrero was batting .318 with seven home runs and a .920 OPS.
“There’s just some soreness there, so we’ll see how he is tomorrow,” manager John Schneider said after Saturday’s 8-2 win.
It’s possible the Blue Jays give Guerrero some extra rest on Sunday, given the team has a day off on Monday, but Toronto won’t hold him out if his wrist improves overnight.
Cavan Biggio entered the lineup and played first for Guerrero on Saturday, going 2-for-5 with a pair of infield hits. Brandon Belt is another option for the Blue Jays at first base, where he’s made seven starts this season. He turned in one of his best performances of 2023 by going 2-for-3 with two doubles, two walks and two RBIs in Toronto’s win to take the series in Pittsburgh.
There’s no indication at this point that Guerrero will need an IL stint, but if it does reach that point, the Blue Jays’ next first baseman in line would be No. 18 prospect Spencer Horwitz. The 25-year-old doesn’t bring the traditional power associated with the position, but he has one of the best plate approaches in the organization -- something that’s helped him to a .446 on-base percentage in Triple-A Buffalo this season with more walks (22) than strikeouts (21) entering Saturday.