Springer, Ray open season on injured list

April 1st, 2021

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays will be without star outfielder George Springer when they open the season in New York against the Yankees on Thursday. Springer has been placed on the 10-day IL with a left oblique strain.

Springer first underwent an MRI on his oblique after dealing with some inflammation in the area and he was diagnosed with the strain on March 23. This past Monday, Springer had a follow-up MRI that showed improvements, manager Charlie Montoyo said, but the Blue Jays aren’t taking any risks with Springer after he signed a six-year, $150 million contract this past offseason.

Springer’s IL stint has been backdated to Monday, meaning he’ll miss a minimum of six games to open the season. The 31-year-old is currently with the club in New York and has been able to continue doing “baseball activities” as part of his rehab process.

This news was foreshadowed recently when the Blue Jays added outfielder Jonathan Davis to their Opening Day roster. Davis earned this opportunity with a strong Grapefruit League performance, but now gives the Blue Jays some insurance in the outfield behind starters Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Teoscar Hernández and Randal Grichuk.

The Blue Jays will also be without left-hander Robbie Ray to open the season. The left-hander has been placed on the 10-day IL with a left elbow contusion after falling down stairs late in camp.

With the first two series off the table for Ray, the Blue Jays will hope to get him back soon after, given how sharp he looked at points in Spring Training. Montoyo expects to have an update on Ray's elbow and throwing progression in the coming days.

Pearson, Hatch open season on IL

No. 1 prospect Nate Pearson and right-hander Thomas Hatch, two key pieces of the Blue Jays’ rotation picture, are starting the season on the 10-day IL. These moves are also backdated to Monday.

Pearson is down with a right abductor strain after straining his groin earlier in Spring Training then re-aggravating the injury during a bullpen session soon after. The most recent update from Montoyo is that Pearson is still throwing long toss, but has not yet progressed to throwing bullpens. He’ll need to build back up after shutting down, but his timeline will become much more clear once he’s back to throwing off a mound.

Hatch’s injury is designated as a “right elbow impingement.” When Hatch left his final Spring Training outing with the injury, there was worry it could be more serious, so getting Hatch back at any point in the near future would be welcome news to the Blue Jays. Hatch debuted primarily out of the bullpen in 2020, but has the potential to be a legitimate Major League starter as soon as this season.

Right-hander Kirby Yates was also placed on the 10-day IL after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Expect the Blue Jays to eventually transfer Yates to the 60-day IL when a 40-man roster spot is needed.

Blue Jays add Graterol in deal with Angels

The Blue Jays acquired catcher from the Angels on Wednesday in exchange for cash considerations. The 32-year-old will report to the club’s alternate training site.

Graterol has played parts of four Major League seasons with the Angels, Twins and Reds, and his Minor League resume includes a brief stint with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons back in 2017. Across 215 games at the Triple-A level, Graterol has hit .277 with five home runs and a .654 OPS.

No. 19 prospect is currently with the Blue Jays in New York for their Opening Day series against the Yankees, and with Reese McGuire expected to be placed on waivers when the roster is finalized, Adams would open the season as the club’s taxi squad catcher. Having depth like Graterol as a veteran insurance policy, though, allows Adams to slide back to Triple-A and be the starter when the Minor League season begins.