NEW YORK -- The Blue Jays' demotion of prospect Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has opened the door for Richard Urena to assume the bulk of the duties at shortstop, but the team is still expected to run a platoon at the position.Urena likely will receive the majority of the playing time
NEW YORK -- The Blue Jays' demotion of prospect Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has opened the door for Richard Urena to assume the bulk of the duties at shortstop, but the team is still expected to run a platoon at the position.
Urena likely will receive the majority of the playing time at shortstop until Aledmys Diaz returns from the disabled list, but the recently acquired Gio Urshela will still see some action there as well.
The 24-year-old Gurriel was optioned to the Minors prior to Sunday afternoon's game against the Red Sox. Gurriel had spent the previous week as Toronto's starting shortstop, but he was batting just .206/.229/.309 at the time of his demotion.
"I thought it was important Gurriel go down and regroup a little bit," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He was starting to feel it a little bit. I think he's going to be a good Major League player, no doubt in my mind, but it was at that point of, 'Let's send him down, let him regroup and then see where it all goes.'"
Urena, Toronto's No. 11 prospect per MLB Pipeline, is the obvious choice to start up the middle because he is the only natural shortstop on Toronto's 25-man roster. Urshela technically can play there as well, but he'll likely be mostly used when a fly-ball pitcher such as Marco Estrada is on the mound for Toronto.
Urshela has made one start at shortstop for Toronto this season, but he wasn't really tested in the field during that game. He's primarily a third baseman and will occasionally receive starts at the hot corner when Josh Donaldson needs a day off from the field.
"Richie is a switch-hitter, of course, and he's a true shortstop, and I'm a big fan of the kid, so he'll play," Gibbons said. "Urshela, he'll play, too. I think it's important that everyone who's here plays something. How we'll deal with that is a day-to-day thing, probably."
The Blue Jays released a slew of injury updates prior to Tuesday night's game against the Mets, with new information on Diaz, Randal Grichuk, Steve Pearce, Troy Tulowitzki and Marcus Stroman, all of whom are currently on the disabled list.
Per a team spokesman, Diaz reported to Florida at the start of this week and began a hitting progression and is running on an anti-gravity treadmill. Diaz has been out since May 6 after he sprained his left ankle while attempting to run out a ground ball. There is no immediate timetable for his return.
Grichuk reportedly is feeling good as he continues to participate in running drills, and he will be reassessed for a possible rehab assignment at the end of this week. The 26-year-old outfielder, who has been out since April 29 with a Grade 1 strain of the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, also continues to go through field and cage batting practice.
Pearce reported feeling improvement as he recovers from a strained oblique muscle, but he has yet to resume baseball activities, which means he is not close to a return. According to the club, Pearce will progress to "higher strengthening activities" as his rehab continues. Stroman remains in a period of physical and mental rest and will report to Dunedin, Fla., on Thursday.
Tulowitzki is scheduled to have a follow-up with his surgeon at some point next week. He has yet to play this season after he underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from both of his feet during Spring Training. He is running on an anti-gravity treadmill, taking ground balls and will progress to live batting practice in the near future.
Gibbons plays coy
Gibbons appeared to indicate on Tuesday afternoon that right-hander Joe Biagini will remain a member of Toronto's starting rotation. Biagini got the start against Boston on Sunday and allowed four runs over 4 2/3 innings.
Biagini is 2-14 with a 6.05 ERA in 21 career starts, but he has fared much better in the bullpen, with a 3.44 ERA over 99 1/3 innings. His prolonged struggles in the rotation had prompted some speculation that William McGuire, Sam Gaviglio or possibly even a prospect from the Minor Leagues would be called upon to take Biagini's spot.
"We'll keep everybody in place, yeah," Gibbons said when asked if Toronto's rotation would remain on turn or whether some changes were coming.
That answer prompted a follow-up question from another reporter who was seeking confirmation that Biagini would in fact start again on Saturday afternoon against Oakland. Gibbons sidestepped that question, which added a bit of confusion to his apparent announcement.
"We'll worry about these next two games in New York, not Saturday," Gibbons said. "It doesn't matter right now."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.