The Blue Jays are currently working through contact tracing and testing, following MLB guidelines. A player placed on the COVID-19 IL after being in close contact with a confirmed positive case will be subject to a mandatory quarantine of seven days and must test negative on day five or later, among other requirements, to rejoin the club.
Left-hander Ryan Borucki has also been placed on the COVID-19 IL due to the side effects of receiving the vaccine -- and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who struck out in his first at-bat Friday night, was replaced in the third inning after experiencing symptoms related to the COVID-19 vaccine. Following the game, manager Charlie Montoyo said that Gurriel was dealing with nausea in the dugout and he will be re-evaluated early Saturday.
The Blue Jays do plan to space out their vaccination process over these early days in Dunedin given the possible side effects. Borucki was dealing with fatigue and a fever, Montoyo said. In Borucki's case, he is free to be taken off the COVID-19 IL at any point with no minimum number of days.
Lastly, right-hander Tyler Chatwood has been placed on the standard 10-day IL with right triceps inflammation. Montoyo didn’t have a projected timeline for Chatwood as of Friday, but said his reliever started to experience inflammation over the past couple days.
Chatwood has made three appearances out of the bullpen this season, posting 2 2/3 scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Given his ability to both pitch in high-leverage situations and also provide length if needed, Chatwood seemed to be settling into a role as the first reliever out of the bullpen, bridging the gap between the starter and Toronto’s talented back-end group.
“I wasn’t expecting this, but that’s just part of 2021,” Montoyo said. “A lot of teams are going through things like this and it’s affecting us right now. Hopefully, it will get better soon.”
In a series of corresponding moves, the Blue Jays called up outfielder Josh Palacios, the club’s No. 29 prospect, along with right-handers Ty Tice and Joel Payamps. For Palacios and Tice, this will be their Major League debuts. Palacios started in right field and batted ninth Friday night.
Palacios is coming off an excellent Spring Training, where he hit .353 with two home runs and a 1.127 OPS over 38 plate appearances. The 25-year-old has been on the fringe of Toronto’s depth picture for a couple of seasons, but those within the organization point to the 2016 fourth-rounder as a player who made the most of the lost 2020 season. Palacios has started to tap into his physical gifts more of late, and while Jonathan Davis stayed ahead of him on the depth chart for his defensive ability, Palacios offers legitimate offensive upside in a depth role.
Tice, 24, is a hard-throwing right-hander who, like Palacios, was added to the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster over the offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. In his last Minor League action in 2019, he posted a 2.34 ERA over 57 2/3 innings split between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo. Typically a single-inning arm, Montoyo says he’s comfortable using him in any situation given the long stretch of games the Blue Jays have coming up.
Payamps opened the season on the active roster, pitching 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief before being optioned. Considering his ability to throw multiple innings, Payamps should have a role going forward with the Blue Jays, though he may continue to bounce back and forth as the Blue Jays need fresh arms to fill games.