Star Blue Jays prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is working his way back from an oblique strain, taking part in extended spring training games.
“I talked to him yesterday,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters prior to the Jays game Monday against Baltimore. “He’s doing all right … He’s doing good.”
Montoyo’s advice to the 20-year-old was simple.
“Take your time. Make sure you get enough at-bats because you lost all those at-bats in spring training because you got hurt,” Montoyo said. “And Buffalo’s cold, so take your time. Just whenever feel like you’re ready and locked in at the plate, then go to Buffalo. And we’ll go from there.”
But the key takeaway was “Don’t rush it. Stay in 80-degree weather instead of 20-something.”
Extended-play games allow teams to manipulate scenarios as needed.
The Dunedin Blue Jays open their season Thursday but a Toronto spokesman said no decision had been made yet on whether Guerrero would join them.
The Jays (2-2) put left-hander Clayton Richard on the 10-day injured list with a right knee stress reaction (retroactive to March 29), and recalled right-hander Sean Reid-Foley from Triple-A Buffalo to take his place as Monday’s starter.
Shortstop Freddy Galvis, restricted to a pinch-hitter appearance Sunday due to a sore back, was cleared to play Monday. The 29-year-old Galvis came into Monday’s game with the longest active games played streak in the majors at 328 games.
In other news, Montoyo said pitcher Clay Buchholz (right flexor strain) will throw 60 pitches Tuesday and 75 on April 7, with the latter possibly at Buffalo.
“He’s doing well,” said Montoyo.
Ahead of schedule, Buchholz could pitch against Tampa on April 13, the manager said.
Pitchers Ryan Tepera (right elbow inflammation) and Ryan Borucki (left elbow soreness) are slated to throw side-sessions Wednesday.
The team is looking at a mid-April return for Tepera and the end of April for Borucki “if everything goes well,” said Montoyo.
Injuries aside, the Jays pitching has been impressive to start the season.
Starters Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Matt Shoemaker and Trent Thornton combined for 24 scoreless innings in the first four games of the season against visiting Detroit.
Toronto pitchers led the majors with 50 strikeouts after the opening weekend and were second — to San Diego — in earned-run average (1.38) after four games.