The Blue Jays placed first baseman Rowdy Tellez on the 10-day injured list with a right knee strain, the club announced just prior to their series finale against the Yankees at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, N.Y., on Wednesday.
Tellez injured his knee tracking a fly ball into right-field foul territory on Tuesday night, when he stepped on a “soft spot” near the bullpen, as manager Charlie Montoyo put it. He finished the inning defensively, but he was clearly experiencing a great deal of discomfort.
The timing is tough for the Blue Jays, not only because of the other top talent they currently have on the IL, but because Tellez is in the middle of a great season at the dish. Over 35 games, he is hitting .283 with eight home runs and an OPS of .886.
In a corresponding move, the Blue Jays recalled outfielder Billy McKinney from the alternate training site in Rochester, N.Y. With Tellez out, Montoyo said that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Travis Shaw will share first-base duties, with the versatile Cavan Biggio also an option there.
Pearson’s potential outlook
No. 1 prospect Nate Pearson is in the early stages of ramping up his rehab from right elbow tightness. If he’s able to return this season, it will likely be in a bullpen role. The Blue Jays would love for him to start again this season, but there simply isn’t enough time left, so he could potentially slide in next to Anthony Kay, Thomas Hatch and others.
“If he can do what we think he can do, like the other guys coming in for two innings and throwing gas,” Montoyo said. “If he comes out of the bullpen throwing 97-98 mph, that’s a pretty good option.”
• Bo Bichette (right knee sprain) played six innings of defense and took four at-bats in an intrasquad game at the alternate training site on Wednesday. He “feels good,” Montoyo said, and he is nearing a return. This weekend is possible, but that timeline should be clearer on Friday after the club’s off-day.
• Ken Giles (right forearm strain) is also close to returning, but Montoyo expects to use him “before the ninth” at first. Once he’s comfortable, he’ll move back into the closer’s role.
• Matt Shoemaker (right shoulder inflammation) is “still progressing” and playing catch and long toss.
• Jordan Romano (right middle finger) still doesn’t have a timeline for return, but that should be clearer in the coming days.