Teoscar Hernández has tested positive for COVID-19, manager Charlie Montoyo announced Tuesday. Hernández had been placed on the COVID-19 injured list on Friday after a close contact outside of the organization tested positive.
Under MLB’s health and safety protocols, Hernández must now isolate for a period of 10 days, during which he will undergo testing and be monitored by the Blue Jays’ medical staff. He will then need to undergo a mandatory cardiac evaluation and be cleared by both the Joint Committee and the Blue Jays’ team physician.
“He was symptomatic last night, and that’s why he got tested again,” Montoyo said. “He gets tested every day, but that's when we found out that he tested positive. He’s doing better as we speak today.”
Hernández has not had any contact with his teammates since last Thursday, prior to him entering quarantine following the positive test of a close contact.
Many of the Blue Jays' players are in the process of receiving their COVID-19 vaccines, which was made possible by the state of Florida making the vaccine available to those over age 18. Both Ryan Borucki and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. have needed brief stints on the COVID-19 IL to deal with side effects from the vaccine, as Borucki experienced fatigue and Gurriel had nausea.
Hernández’s health will be the club’s top priority as he isolates and recovers. Josh Palacios, who made his MLB debut over the weekend, has been seeing reps in right field in Hernández’s place.
Big Nate on the comeback trail
Now that Robbie Ray is back in the Blue Jays’ rotation, all eyes shift to No. 1 prospect Nate Pearson.
The big right-hander went down in Spring Training with a right adductor strain, which he reaggravated his first time back on the mound in late March, but he’s getting back into his throwing program. On Wednesday, he’ll throw a live batting-practice session at the club’s complex in Dunedin, Fla. Much like Ray, Pearson’s return will be a welcome sign for a rotation in need of upside, but a little patience is still required.
“He’s feeling incredible right now. He’s absolutely pain free. He is at 100 percent intensity off the mound,” said general manager Ross Atkins Tuesday on High Heat. “Now it’s just a matter of getting him built back up. Then we’ll determine what’s best for his path and what’s best for him being effective short-term and long-term.”
Springer still dealing with quad issue
George Springer took batting practice on Tuesday in Dunedin, but he won’t be travelling with the Blue Jays on their upcoming road trip to Kansas City. Springer’s “low-grade quad strain” is improving, but he’s still dealing with it.
“Enough that he’s not ready to play, but he’s doing better,” Montoyo said. “He did a lot today. He swung the bat during BP and he looked good. It’s all about the running now.”
After Kansas City, the Blue Jays will travel to Boston for two mid-week games and return to Florida from April 23-25 for games in St. Petersburg against the Rays. It’s possible Springer could return at any of those points, of course, but the primary reason he’s staying back for the start of the road trip is to allow him to rehab in a controlled environment at the club’s facilities.
Other injury notes
• Right-hander Thomas Hatch (right elbow impingement) threw a 20-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday to simulate one inning. Hatch still has to build back up, like Pearson, but barring any setbacks, his return could be valuable to the Blue Jays. If Hatch were healthy to start the season, he likely would have been one of the starters to step into a vacant rotation spot.
• Reliever Tyler Chatwood (right triceps inflammation) played catch Tuesday. His timeline will be clearer once he’s back on a mound and throwing bullpen sessions.