TORONTO -- The Blue Jays recalled Rowdy Tellez from Triple-A Buffalo prior to Tuesday’s game at Rogers Centre and plan to give the first baseman another opportunity to prove himself down the stretch.
The 24-year-old opened the season with Toronto and appeared in 78 games, in which he hit 14 homers and drove in 40 runs. Manager Charlie Montoyo was more concerned with the numbers that support those counting stats, like Tellez’s .227 average and .280 on-base percentage.
“In the big leagues, they find your hole and they keep going at it,” Montoyo said. “He couldn’t make an adjustment with that, so it seemed like everybody was either [throwing] high fastballs or sliders in on him, and he was swinging and missing. He has to make an adjustment.”
Tellez adds another young face to the clubhouse for the Blue Jays, who recently lost Freddy Galvis on waivers to the Reds. At just 29 years old, Galvis doesn’t qualify as a grizzled veteran on most teams, but on this Blue Jays roster, he was exactly that. His departure can be directly tied to Tellez’s return as it opens up more at-bats on the infield and at DH.
It’s no longer a matter of transitioning to a younger roster. The youth has already arrived, with more waves to come, and they’re being fully deployed at nearly every spot on the diamond. That could mean a step back in reps for Justin Smoak, 32, who now exists as one of the lone holdovers from the Blue Jays’ rosters of two or three seasons ago.
“Rowdy’s probably going to play more than Smoak, if I have to guess right now,” Montoyo said. “You have seen that everybody gets to play. Smoak will still play, but I want to see Rowdy. I want to see what kinds of adjustments he made.”
Getting more specific, Tellez says that he’s adjusted his stance to be slightly more upright, which gets him back to the “normal” feeling he had in prior seasons. This came from a conversation with Buffalo hitting coach Corey Hart, who also helped Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernández, among others, rediscover their swings during demotions earlier this season.
Tellez believes that this will allow him to drive the ball to the opposite field on pitches that he was fouling off earlier in the season.
“I wasn’t playing very well. I wasn’t playing up to what I was supposed to be doing,” Tellez said. “They needed to do whatever they could to help the team win and that was an option they had to make. I accepted it and went down there with a positive mindset, the mindset that I needed to get better and improve on what I was doing. I was able to do that and get back up here.