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Vlad Jr. returns for Dodgers series

@SarahWexler32
August 21, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who had been dealing with left knee inflammation since Saturday, returned to the Blue Jays’ lineup for Tuesday's series opener against the Dodgers, going 2-for-2 with two walks out of the three-hole in a 16-3 loss. Guerrero sustained the injury on an awkward throw

LOS ANGELES -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who had been dealing with left knee inflammation since Saturday, returned to the Blue Jays’ lineup for Tuesday's series opener against the Dodgers, going 2-for-2 with two walks out of the three-hole in a 16-3 loss.

Guerrero sustained the injury on an awkward throw to first base while playing third base against the Mariners at home on Saturday, at which point he was removed from the game. He did not play on Sunday, though an MRI exam revealed no significant damage. After doing some drills Tuesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium, he was deemed ready to play.

“Today, around 2 o’clock, he took ground balls, he ran the bases, and then gave us a thumbs up, he was fine,” manager Charlie Montoyo said.

Urena up, Pannone down

Though Guerrero is feeling better, his injury prompted the Blue Jays to make a transaction on Tuesday, calling up infielder Richard Urena from Triple-A Buffalo while optioning left-hander Thomas Pannone to Triple-A.

“We believe [Vlad is] 100 percent, but we wanted the extra guy,” said Montoyo. “Pannone was not going to pitch in this series, anyway.”

Urena made it into Tuesday’s game, not as a pinch-hitter or a defensive substitution, but as a pitcher. Taking the mound for the bottom of the eighth, Urena allowed four runs on a walk and four hits, including a Joc Pederson three-run homer. It the first time pitching as a professional for Urena, whose fastball got up to 90.6 mph.

Urena did get an at-bat in the top of the ninth, grounding out to second on the first pitch he saw.

In 16 games with the Blue Jays across two stints this season, Urena has gone 10-for-40 (.250) with three doubles. At Triple-A, he’s batted .280/.318/.399 with five home runs. Though Urena has primarily played second base and shortstop, he also has experience playing third base in both the Majors and Minors.

Pannone, who started Sunday against the Mariners, will be unavailable for his next turn in the rotation, which would have been Saturday in Seattle. Montoyo mentioned Brock Stewart, currently with Buffalo, as an option to fill that spot.

Sarah Wexler is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @SarahWexler32.