NEW YORK -- First game for Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and he's already making headlines.Gurriel became the fourth player in Blue Jays history to record at least three RBIs in his Major League debut. He finished 2-for-5 with a pair of singles and played a big role in the Blue Jays'
NEW YORK -- First game for Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and he's already making headlines.
Gurriel became the fourth player in Blue Jays history to record at least three RBIs in his Major League debut. He finished 2-for-5 with a pair of singles and played a big role in the Blue Jays' 8-5 victory over the Yankees on Friday night.
The 24-year-old hit a two-run single in the fourth inning and added another RBI single in the fifth to cap an impressive night at the plate. Add in a few effortless routine plays at second base and overall it was a game that Gurriel will not forget any time soon.
"I was just happy to get the call and be here, whatever the situation was," Gurriel said through a translator after the game. "But, of course, I was pretty happy to know that I was playing right away. They told me as soon as they called me that I was going to play. I'm just happy to be here and thank God everything went well."
Gurriel received the promotion after he hit .347 (17-for-49) with five extra-base hits and 11 RBIs in 12 games for Double-A New Hampshire. He is expected to at least partially split time at second base with Devon Travis while also serving as the primary backup to Aledmys Diaz at shortstop and possibly even some time at third base.
The ability to move all over the field is one of Gurriel's biggest strengths, but the Blue Jays signed him to a seven-year contract worth $22 million because of his bat. Gurriel struggled most of last year in the Minors, his first season as a professional after leaving Cuba, but the hope is this year will be different after having fully adjusted to his environments.
Gurriel turned some heads in Spring Training with a strong showing, and he has picked up right where he left off in the regular season. It's too early to say whether Gurriel is here to stay, or whether he is a short-term fix until Josh Donaldson returns from the disabled list, but either way he's going to enjoy moments like the ones he experienced Friday night.
"Yankee Stadium, it was a good crowd out there, and the nerves, he was probably feeling them but he wasn't showing it," Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada said. "He looked comfortable and he hit tough pitches. They made tough pitches on him and he found a way. It's impressive to see someone that young go out there and look comfortable the way he did."
Gurriel also became the 18th Blue Jays player in franchise history to register multiple hits during his big league debut. The three other players who picked up at least three RBIs in their debut were Pat Borders (five RBIs on April 6, 1988), Eric Hinske (three RBIs on April 1, 2002) and J.P. Arencibia (three RBIs on Aug. 7, 2010).
"I'll tell you what, it's a thrill for me, more of a thrill for him, he got to the big leagues and he did it the right way," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "A couple of big hits. Especially that second one, two strikes, shot the ball the other way. I was very impressed and I know he's excited."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.